Diabetes and Heart Disease: What You Need to Know

People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease than those without diabetes. If you are living with these chronic conditions, it’s important to manage them as best as possible to reduce your risk for complications, including heart failure and stroke.

Here’s what you need to know about managing heart disease with diabetes and how Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates (HCA) can help.

Understanding Diabetes and Heart Disease

Diabetes is characterized by chronically high blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause serious damage to your blood vessels and cardiac nerves. This increases your risk for heart disease.

Many people with diabetes are also living with other chronic conditions linked to heart disease, including hypertension, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides.

Can Diabetes Increase the Risk of Heart Disease?

Diabetes and heart disease share many of the same risk factors. If you meet risk factors for diabetes, you will likely meet risk factors for heart disease as well.

Risk factors for diabetes and heart disease include:

  • Smoking. The risk for diabetes is 30% to 40% higher in people who smoke. Smoking also promotes plaque formation in arteries to increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Obesity. Excess weight can lead to insulin resistance and may also increase your blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Physical inactivity. Lack of exercise can make it difficult to manage weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and hormones effectively.
  • Poor nutrition. Diets high in cholesterol, sodium, and unhealthy fats have been linked to diabetes and heart disease.
  • Heavy alcohol use. Too much alcohol can increase insulin sensitivity and also puts excess strain on the heart muscle.

How to Manage Diabetes and Heart Disease Together

It is entirely possible to live a long and healthy life if you are diagnosed with diabetes and heart disease. These comorbid conditions can both be managed with a combination of healthy lifestyle behaviors and medical interventions.

Ways to manage diabetes and heart disease include:

  • Practicing good nutrition
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Reducing stress
  • Not smoking
  • Working with a physician who specializes in preventative cardiology

Preventative cardiology involves having you implement healthy behaviors that can help you reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke if you are living with diabetes and heart disease. It can also help you prevent your conditions from getting worse.

How HCA Cardiologists Can Help

See a cardiologist if you are living with diabetes and heart disease. An experienced board-certified cardiologist at HCA can work with you to reduce your risk for heart problems with diabetes.

HCA is committed to providing the highest quality of care in a patient-centered environment. Our offices are conveniently located in Flemington, Clinton, and Bridgewater. We have subspecialty offices available to ensure our patients receive the proper care for their condition.

Contact HCA today at (908) 788-1710 to make an appointment with one of our cardiologists.

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