Saturday, September 10, 2011

Health Tip: Managing Diabetic Heart Disease

Managing Diabetic Heart Disease

The risk of developing diabetic heart disease (DHD) is directly related to a person's blood sugar level, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says.

The higher the blood sugar in a person with diabetes, the higher that person's risk of diabetic heart disease.

Diabetic heart disease may include coronary heart disease (CHD), also called coronary artery disease; heart failure; and/or diabetic cardiomyopathy.

Coronary Heart Disease is a condition in which a substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. Plaque narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to your heart muscle. It also makes it more likely that blood clots will form in your arteries. Blood clots can partially or completely block blood flow. CHD can lead to chest pain or discomfort called angina, irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias, a heart attack, or even death.

Heart Failure is a condition in which your heart can't pump enough blood to meet your body's needs. It doesn't mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. However, heart failure is a serious condition that requires medical care. If you have heart failure, you may tire easily and have to limit your activities. CHD can lead to heart failure by weakening the heart muscle over time.

Diabetic Cardiomyopathy is a disease that damages the structure and function of the heart. This disease also can lead to heart failure and arrhythmias, even in people who have diabetes but don't have CHD.

Follow Your Treatment Plan

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute offer these suggestions to help manage diabetic heart disease:

  • Make sure you get regular physical activity.
  • Enjoy a heart-healthy diet.
  • Keep your weight under control.
  • Maintain good control of your blood sugar.
  • Find ways to reduce your stress levels.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Follow your doctor's treatment plan for managing your health.
  • Obtain regular, ongoing care from your doctor, including regular checkups and tests.

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