Cardiovascular Complications due to Diabetes

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Source: Written for Spice your Life, by Dr. Nagarathnam Jetti, MBBS,DPH,DIH,FIAOH.


 We have talked about the complications affecting the Eyes, Kidneys if Diabetes is not controlled properly. We will now talk about the complications arising in the Cardio Vascular systems.

I will be discussing this in two parts for better understanding.

The risk of developing cardiovascular problems is very high in a Diabetic when compared to a non diabetic.

Developing a heart attack is more common among diabetics and among females the protection they normally have against heart attacks in the pre-menopausal stage is nullified if a lady is diabetic.

Vascular Changes

Fatty deposits take place in the peripheral arteries. Thickening of arterial walls will happen slowly and this will results in raise in the Blood pressure.

A diabetic will develop hypertension over a period of time due to continuous changes in the blood vessels.

If clots are formed in the peripheral arteries, especially in the legs, people may complain of leg pain and calf muscle pain. This can result in lack of blood supply to the distal parts of legs with end results of gangrene and amputation of limbs.

Changes in the Coronary blood Vessels:

Continued poor control of Blood Sugar combined with high cholesterol levels in the blood, the fat deposits can occur in the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle. Thickening of the arterial walls also can take place simultaneously.

The fatty deposits or clot formation in the heart blood vessels can happen in number of places in an artery and also in all the arteries supplying blood to the heart.

The clot formation and blocking of the arterial Lumen can be much faster and greater if a diabetic has other risk factors such as high cholesterol, high LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) and VLDL cholesterol, high Triglycerides and low HDL (High-density lipoprotein).

If the diabetic is obese (central obesity) and has a family history of heart disease, he is more at risk. The risk of developing heart disease is still great if the diabetic has the other causing factors along with the above factors, like smoking, lack of exercise and stress at work. Prolonged hypertension will itself lead to heart attack.

The deadly combination of the following factors can cause heart attack in a diabetic much faster and the incidence of heart attack will be very high.

Continued high blood glucose,
Very high levels of LDL, VLDL and Triglycerides,
Very low level of HDL,
Uncontrolled Hypertension and a person with central obesity.

To be continued tomorrow.

Earlier on Diabetes:

General Notes on Diabetes
Introduction to Diabetes ~ What Is Diabetes?
Why Early Diagnosis Is Important?
Diagnosing Diabetes ~ Different Types Of Diabetes

Dietary Aspects in the Management of Diabetes
Dietary Aspects in the Management of Diabetes ~ Part 2
Glycemic Index of Different Foods
Uncontrolled diabetes leading to Renal Failure
Diabetes and Eye disease

Diabetes Diet:

Appey or Paniyaram with Jowar Four
Healthly Snack with Chickpea Salad
Gooseberry Rice
Guava ~ the Wonder Fruit


Diabetes Diet/Management: Srivalli, Champa, Harini, PJ
Kid Friendly Recipes: Kalyani, Shylaja, Veena  
Seven Days of Soup: Usha, Sowmya  
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Suresh
Seven days of Cakes:  Anusha

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  1. This is the reason why exercising is so important for women. More than men actually. After menopause, woman loose their muscle mass at a very fast rate. More muscle, good for you. Very nice article.

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