Sugar Matters
May 8, 2009
You’re all heart-Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease

Over the next few weeks, I would like to focus on a particular complication of diabetes: heart disease. Some of you may think this is just beating a dead horse, but in my opinion you cannot talk about heart disease enough. It is one the top three killers of both men and women in industrialized nations all around the world. If you have diabetes, this is your number 1 killer.{{more}} It is the cause of many cases of sudden death, and therefore can be extremely unforgiving. If you have suffered a heart attack or been told you have heart disease but are well enough to be reading this, count yourself among the lucky ones. Too many people have their first diagnosis of heart disease during a post-mortem.

So yes, I started this week out very heavy and serious. I want you to pay attention and not look away from this one. Sure, I could joke my way through this week and talk about how the souse is filling your arteries more than your belly. We could say having a “weakness for sweetness” gets you into trouble in all the wrong ways, including your heart. You could instead be scholarly about it and talk about our excess being the cause of rise in heart disease; when you have little to eat you don’t die of heart disease, right? Yes, we could go all those routes but instead we will cut it dry and simple. Why? Because somewhere out there in Vincyland, there are several hundreds of people who will have heart attacks this year. And of those several hundred, some will not make it through. I want to reach them before that time comes.

So what IS heart disease? Otherwise known as coronary artery disease (CAD), heart disease is basically clogging of the blood vessels that feed the heart. Just like any other part of the body, the heart needs blood bringing oxygen and nutrients to it in order to feed its muscles. Your heart pumps on average between 60-90 times a minute: that’s over 31 million times a year at the very least! The muscles do the heavy work, pushing blood throughout the rest of your body so that you can walk, eat, breathe, do anything and everything. When these heart muscles do not get enough oxygen, they start to die. This gives you chest pain at times. When too much muscle dies, you have a heart attack. If so much muscle dies that the heart cannot work properly anymore, then you can die because blood doesn’t get to the rest of your body anymore.

For the next few weeks we will discuss why heart disease happens, especially in those with diabetes. And importantly, how it can be avoided and treated once it occurs. At the top of the list of course: get those sugars under control. You may have a weakness for sweetness, but your heart does not. Let’s treat it well.

Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227