By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
A recent study conducted in Denmark has found that newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics are at significant risk of having a heart attack or stroke in ten years. The risk is greatest in those aged between 40 and 49 at diagnosis.
The research was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. A study was conducted of all Danish patients with type 2 diabetes diagnosed between 2006 and 2013 and sex- and age-matched people from the general population without diabetes. The diabetics were individuals with an HbA1c level of 6.5 or higher.
Interestingly none of the study subjects had atherosclerosis at the start of the study. They had healthy arteries. They had varied cholesterol levels; low, normal and high. At the end of this ten year period, the researchers counted how many people had a heart attack, a stroke, or died from either one of those.
A total of 52,471 cardiovascular events were recorded during those ten years. Compared with the general average population, the 10 year cardiovascular risks were higher in people with type 2 diabetes in both genders and across all age groups, but especially patients aged 40 to 49 years. They had the largest 10 year cardiovascular risk difference; it was roughly double that of the general population.
A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes doubles your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next ten years. Elevated blood sugar can cause significant harm to the arteries, leading to the development of atherosclerosis. Many people worry about their cholesterol level and think that cholesterol will harm their arteries. The reality is that type 2 diabetes is what can cause atherosclerosis, calcification of arteries and resultant heart attacks or strokes.
Diabetes may harm your heart in the following ways:
- Elevation of total cholesterol
- Elevation of triglycerides
- Raising LDL “bad” cholesterol
- Promoting the oxidization of LDL cholesterol (oxidized LDL is more likely to cause harm to the artery walls)
- Elevating uric acid (raises the risk of gout and kidney stones)
- Reduces HDL “good” cholesterol
- Altering platelet function in a way that makes the blood thicker and more prone to clotting
- Raising blood pressure
- Promoting the development of fatty liver disease
- Promoting the development of leptin resistance. This increases the risk of weight gain and it increases hunger and cravings for carbohydrates, making weight loss much more difficult