How Your Diabetes Is Affecting Your Heart

Many of the issues associated with diabetes are the secondary effects that it has on your body. Your heart and circulatory system are two areas impacted by this disease. By closely monitoring your diabetes and keeping it under control with your internal medicine doctor, you'll reduce your risk of the following impact to your heart and blood flow.


High blood sugar (glucose) is the major symptom of diabetes. An elevated glucose level due to the diabetes not being under control allows fatty deposits to accumulate on the walls of blood vessels. This restricts the amount of blood flowing through these vessels, which causes your heart to work harder to pump the same amount of blood through your body. This raises your blood pressure to unhealthy levels.

When the coronary arteries become restricted with fatty deposits, they can't deliver the oxygen to the heart muscle that is needed. When your heart is starved for oxygen, it initially puts out a warning signal, called angina, which is a type of chest pain. If you don't act on this warning, and the blockage in the coronary arteries becomes severe, you could have a fatal heart attack.


The hypertension that you develop is also hard on your body. Besides making your heart work harder, your kidneys can be damaged by the constant high pressure. The tiny filters in the kidney become damaged so they aren't as effective at removing toxins from the blood. If enough of the kidneys are damaged, you'll need dialysis to filter your blood, and possibly a kidney transplant.

High Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels

When the good and bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels are in balance, your circulatory system remains healthy. Diabetes throws these out of balance, causing additional fatty deposits to appear on the walls of blood vessels.

Weight Gain

Diabetes impacts how your body uses insulin, the substance that your pancreas produces to process sugar in your diet. When the sugar isn't being managed correctly, the excess is stored as fat throughout the body. As your weight increases, the heart must work harder. This makes you even more sensitive to the impact of the fatty deposits in the blood vessels, and more prone to heart disease.

Diabetes Management Reduces the Risks to Your Heart

Work with your physician to develop a plan that controls your diabetes and its secondary effects to reduce the risks to your heart. All of the following elements of the plan are important to prevent heart disease from occurring:

  • medication to control the blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • medication to manage your blood pressure to reduce the burden on your heart
  • diet changes to maintain weight and help keep your blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels within a normal range
  • exercise program to keep your weight down and increase blood flow through the body

When you can keep your diabetes under control and reduce the secondary impact it has on your body, you lower your chances of having to deal with a painful heart disease. Contact a group like Hightstown Medical Associates to learn more.