What are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Stroke in People with Diabetes?

The risk factors for heart disease and stroke for diabetic people include smoking, hypertension etc.

According to the scientific studies, the risk of getting heart disease and stroke is as high as twice for those with diabetes than those without non-diabetics. Statistically, the ratio has been recorded as 2 persons for getting affected with these two ailments in every 3 diabetic patients. So, you can see that the risk is really high.

On top of this, there are several other risk factors which aggravate the situation and result into critical consequences. These risk factors can be categorized as modifiable risk factors and non-modifiable risk factors. The modifiable risk factors are the ones, which you can control to enjoy a better health condition, whereas the non-modifiable risk factors are normally out of your control. The non-modifiable risk factors will always be there and other than taking some preventive actions, you cannot really do much about them. Let me present some insights on these two types of risk factors.

Modifiable Risk Factors: Under this category, there are several risk factors which affect the patients of Diabetes Mellitus and increase the CVD risk or risk of stroke. Following are the list of risk factors, which can be controlled to a safe limit by proper medication or change of lifestyle or restricting food habits.

1.       Obesity – Obesity is a serious concern for the patients of diabetes, particularly if it is noticed in the central part of the body. Central obesity is related to accumulation of fat in the abdominal area. In this situation, the risk increases because the abdominal fat is responsible for increasing the level of bad cholesterol or LDL. With a high level of LDL, there is more deposition of fat inside the blood vessel creating obstruction in the blood circulation system. This automatically gives rise to cardiac problems and increases the risk of stroke.

2.       Abnormal Cholesterol Level – Abnormal cholesterol status can also increase the CVD risk or risk for stroke.

  • High level of LDL can build up more fat on the walls of the blood vessels, leading to disruption in blood circulation. Sometimes, arteries also get completely blocked and as a result minimum or no amount of blood can flow beyond that area.
  • Triglyceride is another component of cholesterol, which also affects the heart, when present in higher level.
  • However the good cholesterol or HDL has the power to clear up the deposited fat from the blood vessels. But, with a lower level of HDL, the risk increases quite high.

3.       Hypertension – Hypertension or high blood pressure is another associated risk factor in this regard. This situation puts extra pressure on the heart for proper functioning. However, this can deteriorate the health of the heart and simultaneously can increase the risk of heart failure.

4.       Smoking – Diabetes and smoking – together are going to put serious after effect to the heart. Both the situation leads to narrowed blood vessels by increasing the fat deposition on the blood vessel walls. So the risk multiplies to double for the heart attack and brain stroke.

Non-modifiable Risk Factors: There are several non-modifiable risk factors, for which you cannot do anything.

1.       Aging – Increased age is one of the risk factors for diabetic patients, as the heart gets weaker with the age. The risk of stroke also increases to double for a person over 55.

2.       Family History – If there is a family history of heart disease or stroke, then the risk becomes higher. Particularly, if any of your closed family member, had suffered heart attack or stroke within age 55 (male) or 65 (female), then you are at a higher risk.

3.       Gender – Gender is also another significant factor in this case. Normally men are at a higher risk than women who are at their pre-menopausal stage.

When you know about these risk factors, you can surely take necessary actions to control them for staying fit and healthy throughout your life. There are several medications and treatments available by which you can take care of the modifiable risk factors. Clinical trials are being conducted for diabetes, heart disease and stroke to learn about the benefits of newly discovered medications in this respect.

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