Hyperglycemia and Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular problems in diabetic patients have been the focus of many studies for decades. It has been shown that there is a strong relation between diabetes and obesity. Obesity is also considered one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease, as well as for high blood pressure. Blood pressure problems and issues like high cholesterol levels tend to accompany obesity and diabetes. Cardiovascular disease is also present in patients with obesity due to the extra stress that the increased size of the body places on a cardiovascular system that is weakened due to a sedentary lifestyle. With all of these issues often happening at the same time, often making each other worse in the process, it is quite difficult to separate these issues as they are inextricably linked.
As was mentioned, research on the relationships between cardiovascular disease and diabetes has been ongoing for a longtime. However, it is relatively recently that research has focused specifically on hyperglycemia and its effects on the cardiovascular system. Hyperglycemia, or higher than normal levels of glucose in the blood, is often the result of poor diabetes management and blood sugar monitoring. Treating and preventing hyperglycemia is essential in preventing the most common complications of diabetes. It is also very important to treat hyperglycemia so as to avoid reaching a point where the most severe complications present themselves.
Even a very small increase in blood sugar for a small period of time is enough to cause irreparable damage to the cardiovascular system. The risk for cardiovascular disease increases exponentially with each slight increase in blood glucose above normal levels. Treating hyperglycemia is essential in preventing microvascular problems. That is, damage to the smallest blood vessels and the subsequent complications that result from that. However, macrovascular problems can also present themselves as a consequence of hyperglycemia. While treating hyperglycemia can only reduce the risk for these up to a certain point, a strict control of blood sugar levels is absolutely essential if one wants to avoid microvascular illnesses.
Treating hyperglycemia specifically is not a solution to macrovascular problems, but as a part of a comprehensive diabetes management plan, it can have very good and lasting results. The fact is that a diabetes management plan that is only focused on blood sugar monitoring and medication will not have much of an effect on the health of the cardiovascular system. In fact, some diabetes medications have been associated with higher risks of heart disease. However, all diabetes management plans will necessarily include lifestyle and diet changes. And, while treating hyperglycemia specifically is very important to prevent damage to the tiniest blood vessels, the added physical activity and healthier diet is the best thing a patient can do to prevent diabetes-related cardiovascular disease. There is simply no way around it, diabetes is a systemic disease. This means that to treat it an approach that is as complete and inclusive as possible will give the best results. However, if there is no other option, a strict prevention of hyperglycemia alone will help greatly in reducing microvascular problems as well as helping up to a point to prevent damage to the cardiovascular system.
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