The more health risks factors a person has for heart disease, the higher the chances that they will develop heart disease and even die from it. Just like anyone else, people with diabetes have an increased risk of dying from heart disease if they have more health risk factors. However, the probability of dying from heart disease is 2 to 4 times higher in a person with diabetes.
Heart disease experts recommend that all people with diabetes have their heart disease risk factors treated as aggressively as people who have already had heart attacks.
When the cholesterol plaques can break apart or rupture, the body tries to repair the plaque rupture by sending platelets to seal it up. Because the artery is small, the platelets could block the flow of blood, not allowing for oxygen delivery and a heart attack develops.
Not only are people with diabetes at higher risk for heart disease, they're also at higher risk for heart failure, a serious medical condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood adequately. This can lead to fluid build-up in the lungs that causes difficulty breathing, or fluid retention in other parts of the body (especially the legs) that causes swelling.
Ask your doctor if you should take an aspirin a day.
Low-dose aspirin therapy is recommended for men and women with types 1 or 2 diabetes who are over age 40 and areat high risk for heart disease and peripheral vascular disease. Talk to your doctor to determine if aspirin therapy is right for you. If you have certain medical conditions, aspirin therapy may not be recommended.
SOURCES: American Diabetes Association: “Fasting and After-Meal Glucose Levels and Cardiovascular Disease.” The Framingham Heart Study: “Profile of the Framingham Heart Study.” UpToDate: Patient Information: “Treatment of hypertension in diabetes mellitus.” American Heart Association: “Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.” Vakkilainen, J, Circulation, 2003; 107:1733. Otvos, J. Circulation, 2003; 108 (Suppl IV): 740.