Unfortunately, diabetes and heart disease often go together. Having diabetes puts you at a two to four times risk of getting heart disease. Add in a risk factor such as smoking or high blood pressure and you increase the risk substantially.
According to the American Diabetes Association, type 1 diabetes (formerly known as juvenile) can occur at any age, but is most commonly diagnosed from infancy to the late 30s. Type 2 diabetes, typically develops after age 40, but can appear earlier, and has recently been seen with more frequency in children.
Some experts say this is due to the excessive amount of sugar and carbohydrates in the standard American diet (SAD).
Having either type of diabetes places you at a higher risk of heart disease and other complications. In fact, if you are a male diabetic, your risk of heart disease is more than double that of the general population. If you are a female diabetic, the risk is five times that of the general population.
How does diabetes increase your risk?
Excess blood sugar damages the the circulatory system, which attracts deposits of fat and calcium to build up until ultimately the arteries are blocked. Having diabetes also places you at higher risk of angina, heart attack, or sudden death.
Unfortunately, if you have diabetes you may not experience the pain of heart attack or other forms of heart disease until you have significant damage to your heart.
If you have diabetes, you need to manage your lifestyle and diet and take preventative efforts to maintain your heart health. If you have diabetes AND heart disease, you will need to manage both conditions carefully. A smart heart lifestyle, along with the advice of your health care team, and taking your medications as directed will help you enjoy better and prolonged health.
There are many complications associated with diabetes - such as retinopathy, kidney failure, neuropathy, but the major cause of mortality is heart disease.
Are there things you can do to minimize the damage? Yes. Is it possible to reverse type II diabetes? For many, the answer is yes. Read these books.
You might also want to check out our web pages dealing with the Lipid Hypothesis.
Are you living with diabetes and heart disease? Read Peter's story.