Checking for Heart Disease

Type 2 diabetes affects the small (micro) and large (macro) blood vessels. Driven by the rapid beating of your heart, your cardiovascular system includes many, many miles of veins, arteries, and capillaries. If your heart stops beating, or if your major blood vessels clog, you could die.

The coronary arteries feed blood to the heart muscle itself, and a blockage can have serious consequences. Researchers in the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo, Japan, looked at the coronary arteries of diabetics with blood vessel damage in other arteries, in order to determine whether their coronary arteries could be blocked as well.

Their study, published in the British Medical Journal in January 2011, included 112 people with Type 2 diabetes and diseased blood vessels in either the eyes, kidneys, hands or feet, or brain. It was found…

– 79 per cent had heart muscle that was not getting enough blood.
– 53 per cent had coronary artery disease with more than a 50 per cent blockage.

Men were over six times more likely to have coronary artery disease than were women. None of the diabetics had suffered any signs or symptoms of heart disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, causing 26 per cent of mortality. Coronary artery disease is the most common kind of heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control list:

  • inactivity
  • obesity,
  • high blood pressure,
  • cigarette smoking,
  • high cholesterol, and
  • diabetes

as risk factors for coronary artery disease.

Type 2 diabetics are advised to be monitored for blood pressure, weight, cholesterol levels and blood fats on a regular basis. If high blood pressure, overweight, obesity, high cholesterol, or abnormal blood fats are discovered, they should be addressed sooner rather than later.

A prime indicator of heart health is your blood pressure. If blood pressure is found to be high, being overweight or obesity is frequently the cause, so both can be treated with a low-calorie, high nutrient diet, and exercise. Taking a walk after dinner every night is one way to begin lowering blood pressure. So is a low-fat diet. Which brings us to the problem of high cholesterol. Diets low in meats and dairy products are best for lowering cholesterol levels. The position of the American Dietetic Association is that vegan diets, without any meat or dairy products, are best for controlling Type 2 diabetes, so the best diet for diabetes is also the best kind for the heart.

When diet and exercise are not enough, medical and even surgical methods are available. Many kinds of medication are available for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels and helping with abnormal blood fats. Some doctors recommend an aspirin a day for preventing heart disease in diabetics over 30. Surgical methods of weight control are also available and have shown success in some people who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

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