Heart disease and diabetes can co-exist: What you need to know
Heart disease is one of the most common and serious health conditions that affect millions of people across the world. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women in several countries. The chances increase when you have an underlying disease. Studies have shown that people who have diabetes are twice as likely to have a heart disease or a stroke.
While studies have shown that there is a correlation between the two diseases, Health Shots talked to Dr. Sreekanth Shetty, Senior Consultant and Head, Interventional Cardiology, Sakra World Hospital, Bengaluru, to understand it better.
Is diabetes and heart disease co-related?
According to Dr Shetty, “High blood sugar, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a highly prevalent chronic disease that occurs either when your pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.”
“Heart failure, a condition in which the heart fails to efficiently pump oxygenated blood through the body, on the other hand, is still an under-recognized and misdiagnosed condition. With the increasing prevalence of diabetes in our country due to faulty lifestyle and increased consumption of unhealthy food, there is also an increase in the underlying burden of heart failure.” he added.
Heart failure more common in patients with diabetes
As per the expert, diabetic population is at 2-4 times higher risk of heart failure than the general population. “Also, heart failure is a risk factor for diabetes, suggesting an interlinking between the two entities. In patients with diabetes, advanced age, duration of the disease, insulin use, presence of coronary artery disease and elevated serum creatinine are all independent risk factors for the development of heart failure.”
Further explaining about the correlation, he says that having Type 2 diabetes or heart failure independently increases the risk for getting the other, and both often occur together. This leads to further worsening patient’s health, more hospitalizations, more emergency department visits, earlier death, poor quality of life and increased cost of care.
How to prevent the risk?
When asked about the main risk that triggers heart failure among diabetic population, Dr Shetty said, “The metabolic risk of heart failure in diabetes is heightened by the effect of certain anti-diabetic medications. Thus, preventing heart failure using glucose-lowering medications should be an imperative for primary care physicians and cardiologists alike. Furthermore, diabetic patients with heart failure requires multidisciplinary approach to make clinical decisions on the intensity of glycemic control, the type and dose of glucose-lowering agents, and any change in the glucose-lowering therapy to be gradually implemented.”
The doctor adds that abundant evidence suggests that all interventions effective at improving prognosis in patients with heart failure are equally beneficial in patients with or without diabetes. By promoting convergence and harmonization of early detection of risk factors, and effective management help in preventing or delaying the onset of heart failure,
Therefore, It is important to keep blood sugar levels under control, get regular exercise, maintain a healthy weight and eat a well-balanced diet.