Tags: diabetes | heart disease | palpitations | attacks

Diabetes Linked to Heart Disease, Palpitations, Attacks

By    |   Sunday, 19 October 2014 11:25 AM

Adults with diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease, palpitations, and attacks, and a recent Johns Hopkins study found that the increased risk may be six times higher even if they have low cholesterol and appear healthy. 

The study found that people with diabetes and pre-diabetes may suffer from undetectable damage to their heart muscles, according to an article on MedlinePlus. The damage seems to occur no matter what the individual’s cholesterol level is.

"Even if we treat people with diabetes with statins, we may not be able to fully address the increased risk of death and heart failure in that population," lead author Elizabeth Selvin, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told MedLine. "This underscores the need for prevention of diabetes and pre-diabetes."

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The study results, released in September 2014, were determined by looking at levels of troponin in blood. This protein is released when heart cells die, and emergency room doctors use troponin levels to determine if a patient is having a heart attack, MedLine said.

Selvin and her team looked at an ultra-sensitive troponin test, which is 10 times more sensitive than that used in the emergency room and which is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

"Our findings suggest that this test may be helpful to identify people with early heart damage," she said, adding that it could also eventually be used along with cholesterol tests as a standard screening tool.

People with diabetes were more than twice as likely to have increased troponin in their blood, MedLine said. Those with pre-diabetes were about one-third more likely to have elevated troponin levels, the study said.

The connection between heart disease and diabetes isn’t new. The American Heart Association said heart diseases and stroke are the No. 1 causes of death and disability among people with Type II diabetes.

"The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the seven major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease," the AHA website said.

Although Selvin pointed out that there’s still no solid understanding of what mechanism causes increased heart damage in people with diabetes, the AHA said diabetics often have high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and triglycerides, struggle with weight issues, and lack of physical activity, all of which increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.

In addition, poorly controlled blood sugars add to the risk factors.

The American Diabetes Association reported on research indicating low blood glucose levels that occur during the night are often undetected in people with advanced Type II diabetes. One 2008 study trying to determine whether tight glycemic control would reduce cardiovascular issues was stopped because a "higher than expected number of patients died, though researchers were uncertain what caused the deaths," the ADA said.

Then a British study suggested that there might be a link between overnight low blood glucose levels and abnormal heart rates that change blood flow to the heart.

"We don’t want to alarm the diabetes community, particularly patients," lead researcher Simon Heller, of the Department of Human Metabolism at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, told ADA. "But what we’ve found is potentially important in explaining a possible mechanism by which hypoglycemia can lead to prolonged, slow heart rates that disturb blood flow to the heart and can result in a lethal cardiovascular event."

Research continues to explore the various mechanisms that link heart disease and diabetes. The ADA recognizes that two out of three people who have diabetes die from cardiovascular disease.

The organization recommends closely monitoring the ABCs – A1C (which is an estimated average glucose), blood pressure, and cholesterol.

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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Adults with diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease, palpitations, and attacks, and a recent Johns Hopkins study found that the increased risk may be six times higher even if they have low cholesterol and appear healthy.
diabetes, heart disease, palpitations, attacks
Sunday, 19 October 2014 11:25 AM
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