Islets of Hope complications of diabetes
By Lahle Wolfe
Excerpts, edited by Lahle Wolfe for content, used with permission from NIH Publication No. 03–4283
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Heart Problems Associated with Diabetes
Mini Site Index
What do my heart and blood vessels do?
Your heart and blood vessels make up your circulatory system. Your heart is a big muscle that pumps blood through your body. Your heart pumps blood carrying oxygen to large blood vessels, called arteries, and small blood vessels, called capillaries. Other blood vessels, called veins, carry blood back to the heart.
What can I do to prevent heart disease and stroke?
You can do a lot to prevent heart disease and stroke
How do my blood vessels get clogged?
Several things, including having diabetes, can make your blood cholesterol level too high. Cholesterol is a substance that is made by the body and used for many important functions. It is also found in some food derived from animals. When cholesterol is too high, the insides of large blood vessels become narrowed, even clogged. This problem is called atherosclerosis. (ATH-uh-row-skluh-RO-sis).
Narrowed and clogged blood vessels make it harder for enough blood to get to all parts of your body. This can cause problems.
What can happen when blood vessels are clogged?
When arteries become narrowed and clogged, you may have heart problems:
What are the warning signs of a heart attack?
You may have one or more of the following warning signs:
How does heart disease cause high blood pressure?
Narrowed blood vessels leave a smaller opening for blood to flow through. It is like turning on a garden hose and holding your thumb over the opening. The smaller opening makes the water shoot out with more pressure. In the same way, narrowed blood vessels lead to high blood pressure. Other factors, such as kidney problems and being overweight, also can lead to high blood pressure.
Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure. If you have heart, eye, or kidney problems from diabetes, high blood pressure can make them worse.
You will see your blood pressure written with two numbers separated by a slash. For example: 120/70. Keep your first number below 130 and your second number below 80.
If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor how to lower it. Your doctor may ask you to take blood pressure medicine every day. Some types of blood pressure medicine can also help keep your kidneys healthy.
To lower your blood pressure, your doctor may also ask you to lose weight; eat more fruits and vegetables; eat less salt and high-sodium foods such as canned soups, luncheon meats, salty snack foods, and fast foods; and drink less alcohol.
What are the warning signs of a stroke?
A stroke happens when part of your brain is not getting enough blood and stops working. Depending on the part of the brain that is damaged, a stroke can cause
Sometimes, one or more of these warning signs may happen and then disappear. You might be having a "mini-stroke," also called a TIA (transient ischemic attack). If you have any of these warning signs, tell your doctor right away.
How can clogged blood vessels hurt my legs and feet?
vascular disease can happen when the openings in
your blood vessels become narrow and not enough blood gets to your legs and
feet. You may feel pain in your buttocks, the back of your legs, or your thighs
when you stand, walk, or exercise.
What can I do to prevent or control peripheral vascular disease?
You also may need surgery to treat this problem.
Page Updated 03/17/2006 Happy St. Pattie's Day!