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DIABETES AND THE HEART

Statistically speaking, 75% of people with Type 2 diabetes will eventually have heart disease, specifically hardening of the arteries (blood vessels) that supply the heart. When the artery closes off, no blood can get through, and this damages or permanently kills the part of the heart muscle that is supplied by that blood vessel. This is what happens when someone has a heart attack. (This is analgous to a stroke, as strokes usually occur from a lack of blood supply to an area of the brain.) One of the strongest reasons to treat blood sugars is to improve survival.

The risk of heart attack in the individual with diabetes is 2-3 times greater than for individuals who do not have diabetes. In fact, a diabetic is more likely to have a heart attack during a given period of time than a simliar person without diabetes who has already had a heart attack. It should also be noted that in women who are diabetic, being pre-menopausal does not offer the protection from heart attacks that is sometimes seen in women who do not have diabetes.

Nevertheless, we are now entering an age where we believe we can prevent a large number of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular problems. Excess glucose in the blood can damage blood vessels and increase risk of heart attack. Improving the level of glucose can cut the incidence of heart attack by up to 50%! It is therefore necessary to have excellent control of the glucose.

ALTHOUGH DIABETES BY ITSELF INCREASES THE RISK OF HEART ATTACKS, THE ACCOMPANYING ABNORMALITIES — INCLUDING LIPIDS (BLOOD FATS), HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, AND SMOKING — USUALLY CONTRIBUTE MORE TO THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE THAN THE HIGH GLUCOSE PER SE. THESE ALSO MUST BE ADDRESSED AND TREATED AGGRESSIVELY IF WE ARE GOING TO IMPROVE SURVIVAL TO THE POINT WE WANT.

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