Heart attacks are one of the most serious complications of Type 2 diabetes, and recovery is more difficult for diabetics than for non-diabetic heart patients. Researchers at the University of Montenegro in Podorica, Montenegro, looked at blood sugar levels to determine whether they could influence how well diabetic patients recover from heart attacks.
Their study, published in the European Review of Medical and Pharmacological Science in May 2013, included 76 Type 2 diabetics hospitalized with a diagnosis of myocardial infarction. Myocardial infarctions take place when the heart muscle does not get enough oxygen, usually because the coronary arteries are blocked. Diabetics with blood sugar levels of over 220 mg/dL (12.2 mmol/L), suffered more complications from their heart attacks than those diabetics with lower blood sugar levels. Complications included:
- abnormal electrical conduction, and
- mechanical difficulties.
Electrical currents flowing through the heart tell it when to beat. When conduction is abnormal, the heart can beat too fast, too slowly, or irregularly.
According to the National Institute of Health in the United States, people with Type 2 diabetes have the same risk of heart attack as people who have already had one heart attack. The higher the blood sugar level, the more likely a patient is to have a heart attack. Diabetes patients often have less success with heart procedures than do non-diabetics. Procedures such as angioplasty, in which cardiac doctors remove plaque from arteries, and coronary artery bypass graft, in which leg veins are placed in the heart to feed blood to the heart muscles, are two treatments which are performed on people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes… but they are less likely to be as successful in diabetics than they are in non-diabetics. Therefore…
- preventing and controlling high blood sugar are two good ways of preventing heart disease and increasing the odds of survival in anyone who does have heart attacks.
- normalizing weight and performing aerobic exercise each day goes a long way toward doing both.
- taking medications conscientiously is also important when needed.
The American Diabetes Association has an ABC list to help diabetics prevent heart and blood vessel disease:
- “A” stands for hemoglobin A1c, a measure of blood sugar control over a period of three months.
- “B” stands for blood pressure. Normalizing weight, exercising regularly, and faithfully taking blood pressure medications when needed, can help keep blood pressure normal so that the heart is not struggling to provide blood to the body.
- “C” is for cholesterol. Keeping your total cholesterol within normal limits and keeping HDL, or good cholesterol limits high, can help keep your blood vessels from becoming clogged.