How does diabetes affect heart health

How does diabetes affect heart health

The human heart supplies oxygen to different parts of the body, maintains blood pressure, and expels carbon dioxide through exhalation. But with an increasing frequency of heart conditions, as per 2021 reports, heart disease costs the country a whopping $239.9 billion each year. Heart problems may have various underlying causes; however, diabetes is often responsible for triggering or worsening them. Some heart problems caused by excessive sugar intake and diabetes are as follows:

Arrhythmia refers to irregular heartbeats. Since diabetes disrupts the heart’s structure, the condition may be caused or worsened by diabetes. Individuals with this condition experience shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, etc.

Diabetes pathologically alters the body’s blood vessels, which can trigger the onset of stroke. Studies have also shown that survival rates of individuals with stroke are lower among patients with diabetes.

Heart attack
Patients with type-2 diabetes are twice as susceptible to heart disease as those with regular blood-sugar levels. Individuals with diabetes may also develop silent heart attacks, which do not have any initial symptoms. Patients having suffered a heart attack may experience swelling in their legs or ankles, sweating, shortness of breath, chest pain, and nausea, among other symptoms.

Atrial fibrillation
According to research reports, diabetes significantly increases one’s risk of developing atrial fibrillation. This is because diabetes causes electric, structural, and autonomic alterations to the heart, which can increase one’s vulnerability to atrial fibrillation. Lightheadedness, chest pain, and fatigue are some atrial fibrillation symptoms.

Heart valve disease
Heart valve disease occurs when one or more of the valves in one’s heart do not function optimally. This condition affects blood flow to the heart and is more common among individuals with diabetes. Moreover, its progression is faster among patients with high blood sugar levels.

Diabetes adversely affects one’s heart functioning in several ways, from causing damage to the heart’s blood vessels to increasing LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are major risk factors for cardiovascular conditions. In addition, diabetes causes digestive issues like constipation by reducing healthy bacteria in the stomach. Constipation due to diabetes also occurs due to changes in the microbiota present in the intestine. Such digestive issues can worsen heart conditions.

Controlling excessive sugar intake can go a long way in helping one regulate blood sugar levels. Having a nutrient-rich meal plan and staying active can also reduce one’s risk of heart disease due to diabetes.