Diabetes and Heart Disease

Managing diabetes reduces the risk of heart disease.
Managing diabetes reduces the risk of heart disease.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Blood glucose, or sugar, is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems: 1) the cells will be starved for energy, and 2) over time high blood sugar levels can hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.

Diabetes and heart disease are closely linked. Individuals with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to develop heart disease or suffer a stroke than those without. This is largely due to the fact that diabetes is associated with many cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, low HDL (good) cholesterol, obesity and physical inactivity. Click here to learn more about diabetes and heart disease.

More information on this topic is also available through our online health encyclopedia.