Diabetes can damage the large blood vessels (called
arteries) that surround the heart and carry blood to
all parts of your body. The damaged areas of the
blood vessels tend to trap cholesterol from the
blood. In time, the large vessels become blocked.
The heart has to work much harder to pump blood
through the clogged vessels. This can lead to heart
attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and poor
circulation to the arms, legs and head.
Heart and blood
vessel damage happens to people who don't have
diabetes. But these problems happen three times more
often and at earlier ages in people with diabetes.
The following symptoms could point to heart and
blood vessel damage:
chest pain or
of cuts and sores
weakness in an arm or leg
(may go away with rest)
These symptoms could be caused by
other medical conditions besides blood vessel
Some possible causes may be:
(especially cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and
triglycerides) tend to be high when blood sugar
levels are high. This increases the chance for
blood vessel damage and heart attacks.
Pressure (more common in people with diabetes)
also causes damage to the blood vessels.
cause narrowing of the blood vessels when you
inhale making it harder for the blood to flow.
Nicotine makes the heart work harder, beat
faster, and require more oxygen.
Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
See your doctor
and diabetes healthcare team every 3-4 months to
monitor your diabetes and any other problems. Tell
your doctors about any problems, such as shortness
of breath, chest pains, dizzy spells, etc. Discuss
with your doctor or diabetes healthcare team ways
blood pressure, if high, to an acceptable range
blood fat levels ( cholesterol, LDL,
triglycerides) to a normal range through diet,
exercise and/or appropriate medication
handle stress in your life
lose weight and remain within a
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