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Re: How does diabetes complicate heart conditions?

Posted By CCF CARDIO MD - MTR on February 24, 1999 at 23:04:25:

In Reply to: How does diabetes complicate heart conditions? posted by Lisa on February 24, 1999 at 13:57:06:

I have been recently diagnosed diabetic, type 2.  I also have CHF,
atrial fibrillation, pacemaker, previous stroke.   I am taking  medications
for diabetes now and still have a hard time getting readings in a normal
range.  Since I do not see the doctor until next week, can you tell me
how the diabetes can cause complications with my other problems?
My primary and cardio docs seem extremely worried about this combination.
Thanks so much for your time.

Dear Lisa, thank you for your question.  Diabetes is a known risk factor for atherosclerosis which causes narrowings in the coronary and peripheral arteries. This may have been the cause of your previous stroke, but without more details, I am just speculating on the cause of your stroke.   The exact mechanism through which diabetes exacerbates atherosclerosis is unclear, but it is known that harmful cholesterol and lipid levels are elevated more commonly in diabetics.   However, there is good news.  Large-scale clinical trials have shown that aggressive control of the blood sugar in diabetics retards the development of atherosclerosis and other complications of diabetes including kidney, eye, and nervous system problems.  In your case, insulin may be needed to adequately lower your blood sugars if oral medications are not effective.   But, don't worry if insulin is recommended because the most important goal is to control your blood sugars through whatever means possible.  Also, daily exercise, weight loss, and a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet are other important methods to attenuate the complications of diabetes.  In regards to your stated health problems, diabetes may increase your risk of another stroke, but should not adversely affect atrial fibrillation and the previously pacemaker.  It's hard to comment on the effects of diabetes on CHF without knowing more of your medical history.  
I hope you find this information useful.  Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only.  Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies. Please feel free to write back with additional questions.  Good luck!
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at www.ccf.org/heartcenter.   The Heart
Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your cardiac problem.

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