How Does Diabetes Affect the Heart?

How does diabetes affect the heart?

When you have diabetes, the chance of suffering from heart disease is more. This is also known as cardiovascular disease or coronary disease which can further lead to strokes or heart attacks.

In case, you have a diabetes problem, your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is more than double when compared to a normal person. For patients with type 2 diabetes, heart disease is a very common cause of death.

Although there are several things you can do in order to lower the risk of heart disease. Understanding the connection between diabetes as well as heart disease is the very first step toward prevention.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is an ongoing health condition where your body’s normal ways of controlling the blood glucose levels of blood sugar do not work properly. When your body breaks down food, your blood sugar level starts rising. The cells in your body also absorb the sugar in the bloodstream by using a hormone known as insulin and utilizing it for energy. 

When your body is not able to make enough insulin or does not use it properly, it will result in high blood sugar levels.


What causes heart disease in people suffering from diabetes?

People with diabetes have high glucose levels in their blood that can damage blood vessels and the nerves that are responsible for controlling them. Hardening of the coronary arteries or atherosclerosis is the main common cause of heart disease in people suffering from diabetes.

It is important for you to know that atherosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol is built up in the blood vessels that supply nutrition and oxygen to the heart.

When the cholesterol plaques break apart or rupture, the body tries to repair the plaque rupture by sending platelets in order to seal it up. As the artery is small, the platelets can block the flow of blood, restricting oxygen delivery and increasing the chance of heart attack.  

The same procedure can happen in all of the arteries in your body, leading to the lack of blood in your brain and causing a stroke or lack of blood in your feet, arms, or hands causing peripheral vascular disease. 

People with diabetes are not only at higher risk for heart disease but also at high risk of heart failure, which is a serious medical condition in which your heart is not able to pump blood effectively.

This further leads to fluid build-up in your lungs that makes it difficult for you to breathe or fluid retention in other parts of your body, leading to swelling.

If you have diabetes, then here are some factors that increase the chances of experiencing heart diseases stated below:

High blood pressure

High blood pressure is a common risk factor for heart disease in people with diabetes. It also puts strain on your heart and damages blood vessels. This further increases several other complications like vision problems, heart attack, kidney disorders, and stroke.


People with diabetes are more likely to have obese or overweight. Both the conditions are major risk factors for heart diseases. Obesity also has a strong influence on your cholesterol levels, blood pressure as well as blood sugar.

Remember losing weight can decrease your chance of suffering from serious heart diseases.

Sedentary lifestyle

Having a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk factors for heart disease such as obesity and high blood pressure. Doctors often recommend that every adult should get almost 2 hours and 30 minutes of adequate intensity aerobic exercise in a week. 

You can ask the doctor what type of exercises are best suited to your fitness requirements.

Know the symptoms of a heart attack

The symptoms of a heart attack mainly include:

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the shoulders left arm and jaw
  • Feeling faint
  • Nausea
  • Chest pressure or pain
  • Excessive or unexplained sweating

Remember it is not important that everyone will experience pain or these symptoms with a heart. This is often true for women.

Therefore, if you have diabetes then following your doctor’s recommendation for prescription medicines and lifestyle changes is important to avoid the risk of heart disease.