Angina and the Relation to Diabetes

Angina is frequently known as a type of chest pain. Basically, it is one of the first signs of CHD, (coronary heart disease). Anyone that has diabetes is at a much higher risk of developing this problem.

In CHD, there there is not sufficient blood supply, oxygen, or nutrients to meet the needs of the heart muscle. A blockage, either partial or complete can be due to artherosclerosis. Artherosclerosis is the buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries in the coronary blood vessels that feed the heart. Risk factors for this problem besides diabetes are hypertension, smoking, obesity, and high cholesterol.

The onset of angina can vary from person to person. The onset of chest pains come on gradually over a period of 30 seconds to several minutes. The pain can sometimes become more severe, but in some cases is only mild and will go away. You may have pains traveling through your left arm, armpit, shoulder, or even the neck or jaw. If you exercise heavily, that may bring it on and make the pain worse. Stressful situations will probably aggravate the problem as well. There are also occasions where angina does produce upper abdominal discomfort or nausea. It may feel like you have heartburn, when it is angina is the real problem.

Doctors may give you two different types of drugs to treat this problem. Nitroglycerin is the most commonly used. It is placed under the tongue, causing your blood vessels to widen, thus allowing a great improvement in your blood flow. Blood pressure drugs are also known to help correct this problem. They help by taking the workload off of the heart, and in turn, this decreases the need for oxygen. Angioplasty is another method that will restore blood flow to the heart. This is only used in more severe cases where a balloon at the end of a catheter is threaded up to the blockage site. It is then inflated to compressing the plaque, and then removed. Angioplasty allows for enlargement of the blood vessel, thus creating greater blood flow that you need. Frequently, a stent is put in place to hold the artery open so that it doesn't close back up again.

Another option if angioplasty fails is bypass surgery. A blood vessel is used from another part of the body, typically the leg. This vessel is used to form a detour route around the blockage of your coronary artery. In people with diabetes, this procedure tends to be much more effective.

You can prevent these problems by doing all of the following;

Don't smoke. This compounds many problems!

Follow a nice healthy low cholesterol type of a diet. Watch your fat intake.

Get regular activity.

Keep your blood sugar within normal ranges as much as possible. Monitor as instructed by your doctor.

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Walking is the best overall activity promoting greater cardiac health.

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