What Causes Diabetic Heart Disease?
Diabetes is a disease in which the sugar (glucose) absorbed from the food remains in the blood instead of entering into the cells to be transformed into energy. This leads to an excess of blood sugar (called hyperglycaemia). In the log term, the high sugar in the blood lead to complications in coronary arteries (arteries of the heart).
These complications, like most complications of diabetes, develop slowly and without any symptoms in the initial stage. So, it is important to regularly monitor the cardiovascular fuctions through cardiac tests in order to detect the appearance of any complications and to limit their aggravation through appropriate management.
The heart is a muscle (called myocardium) that contracts and relaxes at a steady rate to send blood into the rest of the body.
The coronary arteries provide the heart with the oxygen and nutrients necessary for its functioning. When the circulation is slowed down or interrupted in one of these arteries, the part of the heart muscle fed by these arteries does not receive enough blood and the heart muscle can get damaged.
Diabetes and coronary artery disease
In diabetes, hyperglycemia can, in the long term, weaken the wall of the arteries. This promotes the formation of atheromatous plaque which is deposited on the wall of the arteries.
This plaque called atherosclerosis, consisting mainly of cholesterol, damages the wall, reduces the diameter of the coronary arteries and hinders the circulation of the blood.
In the long run, poorly irrigated parts do not receive enough oxygen for normal operation (ischemia) and the tissues may be damaged. This is coronary heart disease.
In some cases, it happens that a coronary artery clogs which interrupts the circulation of the blood: it is the infarction of the myocardium.
What is diabetic macroangiopathy?
Diabetic macroangiopathy means “disease of large vessels”. Coronary artery disease is considered a diabetic macroangiopathy.
Other Cardiovascular Risk Factors
Other factors weaken the wall of the arteries and also promote the appearance of plaques of atheroma. They constitute what are called “cardiovascular risk factors”:
High blood pressure (high blood pressure),
High levels of lipids (fats) in the blood,