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Why Controlling Diabetes Is Important For Heart Disease Prevention?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which patients have high blood sugar. The condition can trigger both acute (in short time) and chronic complications (over a long time). Acute complications include those in which the blood sugar is high and those in which the blood sugar is low. The cause can be an underlying infection, certain medicines, or even the medicines taken to control diabetes. In severe cases, patients can become drowsy and unconscious and need to be dealt with immediately.

Apart from acute diabetic emergencies, high blood sugar does not cause death or disability. But many chronic complications can affect many organs in the body including eyes, heart, feet, kidneys, and the nervous system. Diabetic patients are, therefore, at a higher risk of developing eye disease, heart disease, and kidney disease. Diabetics are also likely to have skin problems, digestive problems, sexual dysfunction, and problems with the teeth and gums.

There are 2 major types of diabetes, namely Type-1 and Type-2. Type-1 is the less common type and usually occurs in young persons below the age of 35. In this condition, the body cannot produce insulin. Patients with Type-2 diabetes, which is more common, have insulin resistance, a condition in which the cells and tissues of the body are unable to respond to the insulin produced. It is often seen in persons who are overweight and have high blood pressure.

Warning signs can be so mild that most diabetic patients do not notice, especially for Type-2. Most people do not find out they have it until problems from long-term damage caused by the disease emerge.

In fact, both types of diabetes do have some similar warning signs. These include hunger and fatigue, peeing more often and being thirstier, dry mouth and itchy skin, and blurred vision. Symptoms of Type-1 diabetes usually happen quickly, in matter of days or few weeks and can be much more severe. Unplanned weight loss, and nausea and vomiting may occur in Type-1 diabetics. For Type-2 diabetics, symptoms that tend to show up after the blood sugar has been high for a long time include yeast infections that grow between fingers and toes, under breasts and in or around sex organs. Slow-healing sores or cuts and pain or numbness in the feet or legs may occur, too.

Coronary artery disease is the major cause of death in patients with diabetes. It can lead to heart attack, heart failure or angina. The risk of developing coronary artery disease in diabetic patients is known to be several times higher at every level of cholesterol. According to the multiple risk factor intervention trial (MRFIT), coronary artery disease risk in diabetics, especially women, at any given plasma cholesterol level was approximately 4 times greater than in non-diabetic patients. In addition, studies suggest that blockage developed in the arteries supplying the heart is more extensive in diabetics. The risk of death following a heart attack is higher, too. Patients with diabetes are more likely to have a painless or unrecognized heart attack.

Unfortunately, good blood sugar control alone is insufficient to prevent the development of heart disease. Diabetes is associated with widespread abnormalities in the blood. Of particular importance to heart disease are the blood lipids that includes cholesterol and triglyceride. High triglyceride and low HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) is often seen in diabetic patients. Moreover, the LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) in diabetics may be 10 to 15 percent higher than in non-diabetics.

Having a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise is important to control diabetes. For some patients, oral medication or even insulin injections may be required. For diabetics who are at risk of heart disease should also have their blood cholesterol maintained at low levels. There is good evidence from studies conducted in Australia and New Zealand, Norway and the United States of America, that lowering blood cholesterol levels will reduce the risk of heart disease in patients with diabetes. Meanwhile, patients with diabetes should never smoke. If necessary, drugs should be used to lower the lipid levels.




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