Heart & Blood vessel diseases

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Wed, 06/23/2010
Heart & Blood vessel diseases

Common diabetic heart and blood vessel diseases are coronary artery disease (CAD), cerebral vascular disease and peripheral arterial disease.

Diabetic Heart and Blood vessel disease

Two major types of heart and blood vessel disease, otherwise called cardiovascular disease frequent among diabetics are coronary artery disease (CAD) and cerebral vascular disease. Narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels in the legs, a condition called peripheral arterial disease is also common among diabetics.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease, otherwise called as ischemic heart disease, develops by hardening or thickening of the walls of the blood vessels that go to your heart. The blood vessels supply oxygen and other nutrients your heart needs for its normal functioning. If this blood vessel to your heart becomes, narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits, the blood supply and thus oxygen and nutrients are reduced or cut off, resulting in a muscle damage and heart attack.

Cerebral Vascular Disease

Cerebral vascular disease affect’s blood flow to the brain, resulting in strokes and TIAs. It causes by narrowing, blocking, or hardening of the blood vessels that go to the brain due to fatty deposits or by high blood pressure.


Stroke results when the blood supply to the brain is suddenly stopped, which occur when a blood vessel to the brain or neck is blocked or bursts. Brain cells are then short supply of or no supply of oxygen and die. A stroke can affect speech, vision, or paralysis. Fatty deposits or blood clots that limit or block one of the blood vessels in the brain or neck cause strokes. People with diabetes are at increased risk for strokes caused by blood clots.


Temporary blockage of a blood vessel to the brain causes TIAs. This blockage leads to a brief, sudden change in brain function, can lead to numbness, weakness, particularly one sided, loss of balance, confusion, blindness in one or both eyes, double vision, speaking difficulty, or a severe headache. However, most symptoms disappear quickly and permanent damage is unlikely if not it could be a stroke. The occurrence of a TIA means that a person is at risk for a stroke sometime in the future.

Heart Failure

Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly. Heart failure develops over a period of years, and symptoms can get worse over time. People with diabetes have more risk of heart failure than non-diabetes. Congestive heart failure develops when fluid builds up inside body tissues. When it is in the lungs, breathing becomes difficult.

Cardiomyopathy develops when a blockage of the blood vessels and high blood-glucose levels damages your heart muscle and causes irregular heart beat. It may not have any early symptoms, but later the symptoms are weakness, shortness of breath, a severe cough, fatigue, and swelling of the legs and feet. Diabetes can also interfere by limiting the pain signals commonly carried by these nerves, which is why a person with diabetes may not have the common warning signs of a heart attack.

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Another heart disease common in people with diabetes is the peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Blood vessels in the legs are narrowing or blocks by fatty deposits, decreasing blood flow to the legs and feet. PAD increases the chances of a heart attack or stroke. Poor blood circulation to legs and feet also increases the risk of amputation. Some with PAD develop pain in the calf or other parts of the leg when walking and relieved by resting for a few minutes.