Published on December 31st, 2020 | by Dr. Doug Pucci0
Diabetes Raises Stakes for Heart Disease
by Doug Pucci
There is no question that diabetes greatly increases the risk of heart disease. The latest diabetes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 34.2 million, or one in 10 Americans have diabetes, and 88.8 million adults, one in three, have prediabetes although many are not aware of their condition—and the age of onset is getting younger and younger.
Diabetes creates risk factors for a number of other conditions that can lead to heart disease. High glucose levels associated with diabetes damage blood vessels by lowering the levels of nitric oxide (a vasodilator). They serve the important function of relaxing inner blood vessel muscles, allowing them to widen, thereby increasing blood circulation. When nitric oxide levels decrease, muscles in veins and arteries tighten and narrow, restricting blood flow.
Ongoing high blood sugar levels can also weaken capillaries that supply nerves with nutrients and oxygen. This leads to autonomic neuropathy, a condition that interferes with brain-organ-nerve messaging and damages the nerves that control involuntary bodily functions and internal organs, including those that control the heart itself. Blood vessels that supply nourishment to the nerves are also damaged, and problems with blood pressure and heart rate, as well as other organs and vital functions, can also develop.
Some of the symptoms of autonomic neuropathy, a frequent indicator of diabetes, include lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting upon standing or when physically active; rapid heartbeat; sudden increase or decrease in heart rate; inability to feel chest pain during a heart attack or when the heart is oxygen-deprived; change in breathing patterns; change in sleep patterns; slower stress reactions; digestive problems; bladder function; and sweating too much or too little, causing body temperature irregularities.
Certain lifestyle risk factors are known to lead to cardiovascular disease, and these risks are increased in those with diabetes. They include smoking, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and lack of physical activity. Each individual risk factor contributes to other risk factors, so taking steps to manage or eliminate even one, such as high blood pressure or smoking, can help reduce the chance of developing others.
A functional medicine doctor would look at how the heart is affected by toxicity, or the inability to properly detoxify, microbiome imbalances, food allergies and sensitivities and more. Coupled with comprehensive blood work, a functional doctor ferrets out important avenues of inquiry using independent, functional laboratories that examine for patterns of disease and wellness—gut microbiome, DNA testing, hormone analysis, organic acids and so on.
The results of these provide insights that can be dealt with naturally through dietary corrections and supplementation. Over time, problematic symptoms can disappear or become minimal and manageable; and in many cases, medications are no longer necessary or may be significantly reduced.
For more information, schedule a free 15-minute discovery call with Dr. Pucci at GetWell-Now.com or call 201-261-5430