Diabetes and Heart Disease

Did you know that there is a link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease? Diabetes can affect many major organs in your body, including the heart. Diabetes is one of the major risk factors associated with heart disease.

Having diabetes means you are more likely to develop heart disease and to have a greater chance of a heart attack or a stroke. High levels of glucose in your blood can damage the walls of your arteries and make them more likely to develop fatty deposits, which may block the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart or brain.

“The best way to avoid the development of these blockages or plaque is by seeing your doctor regularly for check-ups,” said Steven Henao, M.D., chief vascular surgeon for New Mexico Heart Institute/Lovelace Medical Group.

Dr. Henao recommends individuals with diabetes regularly monitor his or her cholesterol, blood sugar, weight and get plenty of physical activity. Managing these risk factors can also lower the change of a person with diabetes developing atherosclerosis, the most common cause of peripheral artery disease (PAD).

PAD occurs when there are blockages in arteries outside the brain, including the neck, arms and stomach, but most often in the legs and feet. PAD can stop blood flow to the legs and feet completely, and in severe cases, foot or leg amputation may be needed.

Heart Hospital of New Mexico at Lovelace Medical Center has a global reputation as a center of excellence for limb restoration. “No other facility can match the experience of the vascular team here at the Heart Hospital,” Dr. Henao explained.

“We are able to coordinate with the podiatrists who do limb-saving procedures here in the hospital, as well as team up with endocrinologists and infectious disease experts.”

“The most important thing that makes us unique is the collaborative approach to vascular care, where we are able to encompass all specialties in a state-of-the-art facility, with every conceivable technology available in the United Sates to save limbs,” Dr. Henao added, sharing that the vascular team is available 24/7/365 for any type of vascular emergency.

The good news is that diabetes is treatable and often preventable. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned that you are at risk for diabetes or heart disease. To schedule an appointment with a cardiology provider, or for more information, call 841.1000