Diabetes manifests itself slowly and can often go unnoticed. Blood sugar levels that are persistently above normal but can lead to serious complications such as vision loss, kidney disease, or damage to blood vessels and nerves. That is why it is so important to go for preventive examinations, which will detect the disease in time.
But even when glucose levels are under control, the risk of cardiovascular disease remains high – up to 30% of type 2 diabetics suffer from it and are as likely to die as people who have already had a heart attack.
“High blood sugar can damage the vessel wall, increasing the risk of fatty material building up in the vessels, eventually narrowing them and reducing blood flow. This condition is called atherosclerosis, the development of which also contributes to the development of high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, smoking and a number of other factors. The dangerous thing is that it does not manifest itself for a long time. In the long term, however, this burden can lead to a heart attack or a stroke,” explains Professor Michal Vrablík from the General Faculty Hospital in Prague (VFN) and the 3rd Internal Clinic of the 1st Faculty of Medicine, UK.
Thousands of Czechs die of diabetes needlessly, because many of them are not treated
Illness with diabetes II. type can be prevented by following healthy habits. “However, a common problem is that people with diabetes often do not give enough importance to their heart health. They focus only on blood sugar control and forget about the risk of heart disease. This is a serious mistake, because heart problems are the main cause of death in diabetics,” warns Professor Martin Prázný, chief physician of the VFN Diabetes Center and chairman of the Czech Diabetes Society.
Advances in the treatment of diabetes
In recent years, new drugs called GLP-1 have appeared on the market that reduce the risk of heart disease in diabetics while controlling blood sugar and suppressing appetite.
However, innovative treatment is only one of the steps, interdisciplinary cooperation between diabetologists and cardiologists, sometimes also endocrinologists and general practitioners, is key. This should include monitoring the patient’s state of health, regular examination of blood fats and blood pressure, joint treatment planning, but also patient education and, above all, his active participation in prevention.
“Patients with type 2 diabetes should be well aware of their cardiovascular risk and take steps to help reduce it. They should ask their doctors about the risks associated with diabetes and ways to prevent them. It is also important to improve lifestyle, including diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, which can significantly reduce the likelihood of heart problems,” adds Prázný.
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