Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases
One of the major comorbidities of diabetes is the presence of cardiovascular diseases. Since diabetes affects the blood vessels and the nerves, people with diabetes are more prone to cardiovascular diseases.
The presence of cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, stroke, coronary artery disease and others is high in people with type 2 diabetes. And, India has become a center for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases due to numerous factors including genetic predisposition, diet, and lack of physical activity, stress, hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity.
A major factor is the damage to the blood vessels in diabetes.
How does diabetes affect the blood vessels
The combined effect of diabetes and hypertension on blood vessels is adverse and leads to a host of conditions like atherosclerosis and macroangiopathy. When this condition is coupled with the effect of the fat buildup in the body on the immune system, it leads to numerous ailments and mortalities.
In people with diabetes, the lining of the blood vessels are damaged leading to atherosclerosis. High blood sugar levels over a period of time lead to the production of excessive free radicals. Free radicals are unstable substances that lead to premature cell death.
Along with this, the levels of nitric oxide (a vasodilator) increase. Due to this, there is excessive dilation (expansion) of blood vessels. Moreover, certain cells of the immune system that aid inflammation are reduced. This leads to the hardening of blood vessels (atherosclerosis) and cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular disease is the major reason for premature deaths and hospitalizations, and coupled with diabetes, it is a major health burden for Indians. So, it is very important to take precautionary measures to avoid cardiovascular damage in people with diabetes.
How to prevent cardiovascular damage with diabetes
- First and foremost, one should control their sugar levels with diet, exercise, and medication.
- Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels should be taken up in order to manage diabetes better.
- One should have periodical medical checkups and tests.
- Hypertension should be managed.
- Cholesterol levels should be regulated.
- If you are overweight, work towards weight reduction.
- Avoid smoking and consumption of alcohol.