Diabetes is a rapidly growing chronic disease in North America. Diabetes impacts the body’s ability to use glucose (sugar) as energy in the body. Instead, the sugar stays in the bloodstream due to a lack of insulin secretion from the pancreas.
Over time, high amounts of glucose in the blood can start to cause damage in the body. Small blood vessels become less elastic and narrower, reducing blood flow to and from the heart. Nerves which control the heart also become damaged, which can impact the function of the heart muscle. With reduced oxygen and blood supply to the body, the heart has to begin to work harder, increasing blood pressure and stress on the heart to force blood through damaged blood vessels.
High levels of sugar in the blood can also increase levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), sometimes called ‘bad cholesterol’ and triglycerides while decreasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), sometimes called ‘good cholesterol’. All of which are cardiovascular risk factors.
A diagnosis of diabetes increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
High blood pressure, LDL, triglycerides, and low HDL are asymptomatic signs of cardiovascular disease and therefore need to be assessed by a healthcare professional. If you have a diagnosis of insulin resistance or diabetes, it is especially important to assess and protect your cardiovascular health.
Check out these tips to start improving your heart health today!
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