Diabetes Mellitus has been termed as the deadly silent killer, in that the disease affects each and every part of our system and gives rise to several health complications. The fact that uncontrolled sugar levels can be a risk factor for heart problems is a known fact, but not many might be aware that Diabetes is also a major risk factor for Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD). Through this blog I will be discussing the various links between these serious diseases and sharing some compelling evidences of risk of CVD in Diabetes Mellitus patients.
All forms of Diabetes are characterized by either lack of insulin, insulin resistance, or inefficient insulin action leading to increased blood sugar levels. However, the insulin hormone is not only involved in sugar metabolism, but also essential for other metabolic activities too, for example insulin helps:
- Stimulate Lipogenesis
- Stop or reduce Lypolysis
- Transport amino acids into the cells
It is also involved in other essential activities like cell multiplication, DNA synthesis, and various transcription processes.
As a result, Diabetic patients not only show high blood sugar levels (the classic diabetes symptoms) but also manifest other blood aberrations like Hypercholesterolemia, Increased LDL and VLDL levels, Hyper-triglyceridemia, etc. – the known risk factors for CVD.
Several predisposing risk factors simultaneously affect the development of Type II diabetes Mellitus and CVD. Some of the common concomitant factors include Obesity, Sedentary lifestyles, Smoking, Heredity, and Advancing Age. Moreover, several studies have reported that diabetic women tend to lose their natural protection against CVD and Heart Disease risk, thus increasing their susceptibility to the disease condition. According to a recent data, almost 65% of all diabetes patients in the US die of CVDs. Keeping these factors in mind, the new guidelines for CVD support and care (issued by the American Heart Institute) suggest that diabetes is a direct and independent risk factor for CVD.
However, one need not despair; being diabetic need not predestine you to CVD. There are several ways in which one can reduce and even eliminate the risk of CVD in diabetes Mellitus patients:
- Keep the blood sugar levels under control: People with uncontrolled diabetes have double as much chances of developing CVD and other other heart problems that the people with better sugar control.
- Maintain a healthy height to weight ratio: Being overweight and obese is not only a major risk factor for CVD, it also exacerbates the hyperlipidemia symptoms caused by insulin deficiency.
- Exercise regularly or be physically active: Several forms of exercise like aerobics and an active life style has been linked with reduction of risk for both diabetes and CVD.
- Eat healthy: This will serve many a purpose, including help maintain weight, keep sugar levels under check, and keep hyperlipidemia at bay. Thus reducing the risk of CVDs.
Apart from the aforementioned tips, there are several intervention studies being carried out to study the efficacy of various drugs in treating CVD in diabetic patients. For instance a clinical trial is underway near Detroit, MI to explore the use of a DPP-IV inhibitor in reducing CVD risk in patients with Diabetes.
- Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Clinical Trials, Investigational Treatments, Researchers and Research Sites
- Larry Brandwein, From Denial to Survivor of a Silent Killer, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
- Understanding What is Type 2 Diabetes and Why Does it Need to be Treated?
- DPP-4 Inhibitors (Sitagliptin, Alogliptin, Saxagliptin, Vildagliptin) in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
- Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes