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Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

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Lesson 3 - Diabetes and Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

How Diabetes Increases the Risk for Coronary Artery Disease

Diabetes-related cardiovascular complications are directly related to either the blocking or slowing down of blood flow to the body. In the case of CAD, blood flow is either slowed or blocked to and from the chambers of the heart.

Diabetes does this in a number of ways:

  • Diabetes can decrease the ability of lipid-delivering proteins to function properly (These proteins are necessary to carry fats and lipids out of the blood and into the cells for storage). Therefore, people with diabetes are more prone to lipid build-up on blood vessel walls. Research shows that tight control of blood glucose levels can increase the function of these proteins.
  • It can also cause excess amounts of a blood-clotting agent, which can also cause a narrowing of the blood vessels.

  • Diabetes can directly cause narrowing or clogging of blood vessels. This hardening of the arteries is also known as atherosclerosis.

Preventative Measures and Treatment

Thankfully, these harsh and potentially hazardous conditions can be greatly curbed by:

  • Eating a balanced diet (low-saturated fat and low-cholesterol)
  • Not smoking
  • Exercising regularly and controlling weight gain
  • Keeping blood glucose levels within reasonable ranges
  • Limiting fat intake
  • Reducing stress
  • Controlling hypertension levels

Treatment for CAD is similar for both diabetics and non-diabetics, and can be administered in a number of different ways.

The first step is making lifestyle changes that can help curb or prevent unnecessary health risks; these include quitting smoking, exercising more, and balancing your diet.

Another treatment involves angioplasty, a medical procedure done by inserting a balloon-tipped catheter tube into the artery to clean it out and reopen the blood flow to the heart.

The third treatment option for CAD is bypass surgery. This involves surgery to redirect flow of the blood through more patent blood vessels.

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