While diabetes and cardiovascular disease are terms that have been used and heard a number of times, cardiac comorbidity may not be something that people are as familiar with. In short, comorbidity refers to having more than one chronic, or long-lasting, disease at once. Sometimes, one is caused or heavily influenced by another.
Let’s familiarize ourselves with some of the types, causes, symptoms and treatments of both diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The amount of people developing diabetes is increasing astronomically. Diabetes is a condition in which a person has high blood sugar levels. This has to do with your body’s ability, or in this case, inability to produce or obtain enough insulin. There are 3 types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system wrongly destroys beta cells in the pancreas; these cells produce insulin, so in turn, your body fails to create any insulin on its own. Symptoms for type 1 diabetes include blurred vision, numbness in the hands and/or feet, tiredness, abnormal weight loss and extreme thirst. Treatments differ, but many involve taking insulin, by injection for instance, or using an insulin pump. Regular exercise and healthy diet is also recommended.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and occurs when a person’s body becomes insulin resistant. Insulin resistance refers to your body’s inability to react to insulin and utilize it properly. This type of diabetes is primarily caused by an insufficient amount of exercise and obesity. Symptoms as well as treatments for type 2 diabetes are similar to those of type 1.
Pregnant women are the only people that can get gestational diabetes. The hormones produced by the placenta raise the body’s blood sugar; this leads to insulin resistance. That’s not to say that all pregnant women will get gestational diabetes. Still, this is why it is critical that they visit their doctor regularly, especially since there are not any major warning signs.
Cardiovascular disease is a series of various conditions that you can develop. Such conditions include heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke, and blood vessel diseases, such as coronary artery disease. The causes for cardiovascular disease are contingent upon which specific condition you have. However, some are high blood pressure, high cholesterol (LDL) and smoking. Symptoms also vary, but shortness of breath and chest pains are common.
There is a strong correlation between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In particular, you are able to see this link when you take a look at the top causes of death for people with type 2 diabetes: heart attack and stroke. If you have diabetes, there is a higher chance of you getting a cardiovascular disease.
These two conditions seem to go hand in hand in several ways. Not only does one increase the possibility of you developing another, but also, there are similar components that contribute to the likelihood of getting either disease: weight, blood pressure, high cholesterol (LDL), lack of exercise, etc. With that said, the treatments or ways to control both disorders overlap as well. Getting your diabetes under control can hinder a cardiovascular disease from developing.
For more information, contact your Complete Care cardiologist.
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