The Effects of Diabetes On Your Heart

By Webmaster | Malaysia | Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:44pm

The Effects of Diabetes On Your Heart

Persistent high blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes complications such as kidney diseases which is known medically as nephropathy, eye diseases (retinopathy), and damage to the nerves which causes numbness to the hands and legs (neuropathy). Few know that heart diseases and stroke (cardiovascular diseases-CVD) is actually the leading diabetes complication and death among people with diabetes1.

Fact : People with diabetes have 2-3 fold increased risk of heart disease. 60% of people with diabetes will eventually die from heart complications1.

Diabetes and Heart Diseases

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) consist of a group of several heart diseases and stroke. The most common heart disease that majority know of is heart attack. But do you know how and why it happens? Persistent high blood sugar damages the structure of the blood vessels, hence blood is not supplied to the heart properly. When a certain part of the heart’s blood supply is cut-off, heart attack happens.


Other factors that increase the risk of getting heart diseases for people with diabetes are:

  • Family history of heart diseases

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol level

  • Smoking

  • Obesity

  • Sedentary lifestyle

The importance of monitoring your blood sugar levels

For people with diabetes, your health care professional would have encouraged you to monitor your blood sugar level as frequent as possible. At the same time, you are to chart down what and how much you have eaten. The more complete the data, the better it is, so that your health care professional will be able to prescribe a more accurate treatment and advise for you as an individual.


When and how frequent do you need to monitor your blood sugar?

According to our Malaysia Ministry of Health (MOH), it is encouraged for you to monitor your blood sugar level several times before and 1½ hours after meals. Refer to the table below for its frequency and acceptable blood sugar target ranges2.

Why is it important to monitor your blood sugar after meals?

Depending on what and how much you have eaten, it could suddenly increase your blood sugar to a very high level. After a period of the same incidents, the blood vessels become damaged and hence, lead to heart diseases and stroke.

Self-managing diabetes

Good diabetes management is the way to decrease the risk of getting heart diseases. This can be done by maintaining a healthy weight, taking medications regularly as prescribed, eating healthily, exercising regularly, keep your cholesterol and blood pressure level under control, and say “No” to smoking.


A simple way to kick start your diabetes management is by following the 3 simple steps.

Recommended actions in 3 simple steps. 

By achieving and maintaining an optimum blood sugar level at all time, you can delay or even prevent yourself from all the diabetes complications.


1. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th Edition, International Diabetes Federation, 2017.

2. Clinical Practice Guidelines, Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, 5th Edition, MalaysiaMinistry of Health, 2015.

3. Pinggan Sihat Malaysia, Malaysia Ministry of Health retrieved from http://www.moh.gov.my/english.php/pages/view/198 on 10 Dec 2017




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