How Does Diabetes Lead To Heart Disease?

diabetes index

If you are a diabetic, then you should be cautious of heart diseases. People with diabetes are more prone to heart diseases when compared to the people without diabetes. Diabetes is one of the major risk factors for developing heart diseases.

Some statistics shows that about 68 percent of people with the age of 65 years or older who have diabetes tend to die of heart disease and about 16 percent of people die due to stroke. Having said that, diabetes is one of the seven preventable risk factors for developing many heart diseases, and can be managed with maintaining a proper level of blood glucose and blood cholesterol.

Heart disease:

Heart disease refers to a number of conditions which affects the heart and cause a drastic change in the normal functioning of heart.

Various types of heart diseases: Any change in the heart either it may be a structural change or a functional change leads to various types of heart disease.

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Angina
  • Coronary artery disease (Atherosclerosis)
  • Myocardial infarction (Heart attack)
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Congestive heart failure


Diabetes mellitus is a cluster of metabolic conditions which is caused due to the increased amount of glucose in the blood (blood sugar), which may occur due to the decreased production of insulin or may be due to the resistance towards insulin.

Types of Diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes also known as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
  • Type 2 diabetes also known as non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
  • Prediabetes
  • Gestational diabetes

In Type 1 diabetes mellitus, the pancreas produces only a little amount of insulin or no insulin at all due to the destruction of beta cells.

In Type 2 diabetes mellitus, there may be a resistance towards the insulin, leading to reduced intake of glucose by the cells.

Prediabetes is a reversible diabetic condition which is caused due to the elevation of glucose levels in blood. It is also called as borderline diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is a condition due to increased glucose levels in blood during pregnancy. The condition usually disappears after the delivery.

Connection between Diabetes and Heart disease:

In a person with normal blood vessel, the flow of blood is continuous and smooth due to the presences of nitrous oxide (NO). The nitrous oxide in blood vessel prevents the cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessel.

In type 2 diabetes, due to insulin resistance, the  nitrous oxide mechanism gets lost. In diabetic condition, the high levels of glucose, triglycerides and fatty acids in blood lead to plaque formation. This formation of plaque is a major reason for causing coronary artery disease or arthrosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis, causes stiffening of blood vessels, increasing the force of blood flow on the arterial walls, which leads to hypertension. Hypertension is a major risk factor for other heart related diseases like damage of blood vessels, stroke and heart attack.

Tips for a diabetic patient to avoid heart diseases:

  • Visit your physician regularly and get your blood glucose level and blood pressure levels checked.
  • Try to maintain a normal blood glucose level.
  • Maintain a normal blood pressure, the blood pressure shouldn’t exceed above 130/80 mmHg.
  • Drinking alcohol worsens diabetes and also leads to various heart diseases.
  • Say no to smoking.
  • Have a diet rich in fibers, it helps in controlling the level of blood glucose.
  • Stay away from foods high in calories and fats.
  • Don’t consume sugary foods.
  • Eat fish instead of red meat.
  • Make a habit of meditating daily.
  • Have a walk and perform all kind of physical activities which are good for health.
  • If you are overweight, try to lose weight and maintain a healthy BMI (Body mass index).
  • Limit the intake of salt, and consume it as recommended by your physician.

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