Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Link Between Diabetes And Heart Disease

The Link Between Diabetes And Heart Disease
by
Raymond Nwambuonwo

Research on diabetes and heart disease reveals that the two health problems are closely related because diabetic patients suffer the risk of having heart disease twice as much as do people without diabetes.

Almost 65% people suffering from diabetes die from heart disease. It has also been found that heart disease progresses more quickly in diabetics than in other people. This link between diabetes and heart disease puts diabetic at an increased risk of dying from stroke and/or heart attack.

The Diabetes and Heart Disease Connection

The observed connection between diabetes and heart disease has to do with blood chemistry and the role of glucose in developing the condition called atherosclerosis in which plaque (fatty deposits) gradually build up along the walls of the arteries. Plaque is mostly made of a kind of cholesterol called LDL (bad cholesterol) which is too light to settle down and be removed in body waste.

The presence of glucose in the diabetic’s blood increases LDL’s stickiness and its ability to build up along the arterial walls. The arteries thus become fibrous, thick, and calcified, or ‘harden’ in general. Blood flow in the arteries is reduced and the patient develops heart disease.

Reducing the Risk of Death from Diabetes and Heart Disease

Medical professionals concerned with reducing the risk of dying from heart disease in diabetic patients suggest a careful control on three main variables that they abbreviate as ABC. This represents A1C (a measure of the blood glucose level), blood pressure, and cholesterol level in the blood.

The criteria for general safety require that the A1C level of the patient should be kept below 7%; the blood pressure should remain below 130/80 mmHg; and the low-density lipoprotein or LDL (the bad cholesterol) level should be lower than 100 mg/dl.

Preventing Health Damage from Diabetes and Heart Disease

To prevent the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other kinds of damage resulting from the simultaneous occurrence of diabetes and heart disease, patients are advised to keep control on certain factors like diet, weight, and lifestyle. In general it is strongly recommended for diabetic patients to keep a check on their body weight by eating a diet with more vitamins and fiber (vegetables and fruit) than fat (rich foods) and protein (meat).

Abstinence from smoking and excessive intake of alcoholic beverages is very useful in reducing the risk of stroke and/or heart disease. In addition, regular daily exercise for up to one hour helps protect against health damage resulting from atherosclerosis.

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