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Diabetes and Heart Disease: A Bad Relationship

Millions of people in the United States are living with a bad relationship – the relationship between their diabetes and their heart.

When it comes to bad relationships, mending a broken heart can be the first step to recovery. But for people with diabetes, knowing that there is a threat of a broken heart can be the first step to understanding the increased risk.

Diabetes, heart disease and stroke are closely connected. People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have serious problems like heart disease and strokes. Approximately two-thirds of people with type 2 diabetes actually die from complications like these.

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So, why is this relationship so complicated?

Just like some other causes of heart attack and stroke, diabetes causes plaque to build-up on the walls of arteries. This makes it easier for cholesterol to gather, and eventually reduces the space through which blood can flow, causing blood pressure to rise. This blockage can lead to problems like heart attacks, strokes and even sudden death due to cardiac arrest. Diabetes also damages the walls of blood vessels themselves, making them prone to injury from high blood pressure, plaque build-up and swelling in the arteries. And it takes more than just controlling blood sugar to prevent heart disease.

If you have diabetes, speak with your healthcare provider to learn more about the link between diabetes and heart disease. If you have loved ones with type 2 diabetes, encourage them to do the same. The sooner you do, the sooner you and a physician can take action.

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