How Diabetes Affect Heart?
Heart is one of the four major organs affected by diabetes , apart from nerves ,eye,and the kidneys. Conversely,diabetes is one of the seven major risk factors that have been attributed to heart disease. Therefore, both diabetes and heart disease share a common origin ,which is poor lifestyle choices,( diet and lack of exercise ) and therefore obesity .
Although one might get a heart attack out of the blue ,the changes that lead to this event do not happen overnight.Research shows that damages to the heart tissues start to develop much earlier to the onset of diabetes itself ! Microscopic changes occur in the blood vessels of the heart ,called endothelium ,due to a process called inflammation. This inflammation is caused due to high blood sugar, high BP, high cholesterol levels,smoking or stress, among others.In our centre, we do certain blood tests to measure the levels of these inflammatory markers like CRP, Apo A ,ApoB,Lp a and lipid profile to identify the risk early and suggest methods to mitigate it.This is the first line of defense.
However , since the actual symptoms of heart disease,such as chest pain,shortness of breath, pain in the arm or jaw and swelling of the feet, present very late ,the only way to prevent the heart problems is by regular ECG screening and blood testing. To complicate matters, diabetics have a peculiar problem of silent ischemia. Due to the damage to the nerves by diabetes, the sensation of chest pain might not reach the brain during the attack , leading to late presentation to the hospital,until it is too late.Therefore we strongly recommend all diabetic patients to undergo cardiac testing at least once a year.