Why Does Diabetes Increases Risk of Heart Attacks?
It’s well-known that having Type 2 diabetes increases the risks of heart attack, but why is this? In this article, we’ll take a look at the relationship between these issues, and what people can do to help control and reduce their heart attack risks.
How Type 2 diabetes affects heart health
When you have Type 2 diabetes, your body’s pancreas cannot produce enough insulin needed to move the glucose (sugar) in your blood into the body’s cells, where it’s used for energy. This causes blood sugar to increase while starving cells, affecting almost every system in the body. Symptoms can include poor healing, excessive thirst and hunger, blurry vision, fatigue, weight loss, and nerve death in the extremities.
It affects the heart by causing high blood pressure, causing inflammation, and wear on the heart and cardiovascular system that can lead to cardiovascular disease, a primary cause for heart attacks. In addition, it can cause increases in bad cholesterol, which forms into plaque on the artery walls. This causes arteries to narrow and harden, and plaque that comes loose can result in clots and stroke.
Heart and fatal heart attack risks increase
In a recent study, researchers found that 90% of patients with Type 2 diabetes are at high risk of experiencing a heart attack within 10 years and that it was far more likely for these patients to have a fatal heart attack. In this study, many of the patients did not have cardiovascular disease, but 72% had high blood pressure, 60% had high cholesterol, 45% suffered from obesity, and 14% were active smokers.
What can people with Type 2 diabetes do?
All this sounds quite scary, but having this knowledge means we can take steps to help reduce these risks. For people with Type 2 diabetes, this can include:
- Talking to your doctor – Have regular check-ups with your doctor to monitor your health, focusing on your heart health as well as your diabetes symptoms. Discuss your family history if cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and high blood pressure are present, and consider medical treatment to help reduce these risks.
- Be aware of heart attack symptoms – It is essential to get treatment as quickly as possible if you experience a heart attack. Not all heart attacks are sudden, especially in women. Make sure you are aware of the symptoms of a silent heart attack, talk to your family or colleagues about what to do in a cardiac emergency, and equip your home or office with an AED to restart the heart if a heart attack or stroke causes cardiac arrest.
- Take action – Diabetes is a disease that requires active management, and implementing healthy lifestyle changes not only helps to manage symptoms more easily, but it also benefits your heart health and quality of life. Reducing heart attack risks means maintaining a healthy weight, keeping blood sugar stable with fresh, nutritious meals, taking medication as instructed, becoming physically active, cutting out alcohol, and quitting smoking.
Live longer, live better by supporting heart health
Every year in Australia, around 20,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest while 41,800 people die each year from cardiovascular disease. At DefibsPlus, we are passionate about getting these numbers down and preventing unnecessary deaths. By supplying homeowners, businesses, and groups with affordable automated external defibrillators (including HeartSine AEDs) and free defibrillator training, we’re working to help make communities across Australia into heart safe spaces.
For more information on our products and services or the DefibsPlus defibrillator subsidy, call 1300 463 344 or use our online form to contact us today.