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Effective Monday, July 19, 2021, the following NOH/OMG office locations will no longer provide on-site blood draws: Westlake, Lorain, Olmsted Falls and Dewhurst. Click here for the nearest lab service location. 

Explaining The Connection Between Heart Disease And Diabetes

June 15, 2021

The connection between heart disease and diabetes is a strong one. In adults with diabetes, the most common causes of death are heart disease and stroke. Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes.

But understanding the connection between heart disease and diabetes can help you keep from becoming a victim. So, let’s take a closer look at both, their connection, and what you can do to decrease your risk.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when your body is unable to produce a sufficient amount of insulin or use insulin properly.

There are two types of Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. If you have Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas in your body will not be able to produce any insulin at all. In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin or the insulin is ignored by the cells in your body. Type 2 diabetes is most common.

Furthermore, diabetes is a condition that can increase your risk of heart disease, and it should be treated and managed promptly.

What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease describes a range of conditions that affect your heart. Heart diseases include:

  • Blood vessel disease, such as coronary artery disease
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
  • Heart defects

They can be classified based on whether they occur at birth (congenital heart diseases) or develop during the course of a lifetime (acquired heart disease). They are also grouped according to the parts of the heart, blood vessels and systems they affect.

In short, there are many types of heart disease.

The Connection Between Heart Disease And Diabetes

When your body is digesting food, it will turn most of the food into glucose. The function of insulin is to help glucose enter the cells in your body so that it can be used as energy. If you are suffering from diabetes and your body is not producing enough insulin, the glucose will build up in your blood instead of entering the cells, resulting in higher blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can cause significant damage to the lining of your blood vessels and lead to atherosclerosis, a major contributing factor to heart disease.

Over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can not only damage your blood vessels, but also the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances that you will develop heart disease.

It is known that people who have higher insulin resistance, such as Type 2 diabetics, also have higher levels of fibrinogen in their blood. Fibrinogen is an essential protein that causes your blood to clot so that you will not lose too much blood when you are bleeding. However, excessive fibrinogen in your blood can cause blood clots to form in your arteries and increase your chances of stroke.

On top of that, as we mentioned earlier, if you’re living with Type 2 diabetes, you’re two to six times more susceptible to heart attack than those who aren’t, and heart attacks are typically fatal in diabetes patients.

What You Can Do

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but there are about 92 million American adults living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke. So, being diagnosed with heart disease does not have to be a death sentence, but you have to want to do something about it.

The first step you can take is to get a heart screening done. There are several different non-invasive tests you can have. One can tell you your chances of having a heart attack over the next 10 years. Our guide “Cardiology Tests That Are Keeping Hearts Healthy”  is a great resource. It can help you determine which screening is right for you.

How to tell if you'll have a heart attack