In order for your body to transform the food you eat into energy, it uses insulin. Insulin helps the sugars in your bloodstream turn into energy for your cells. Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to produce sufficient insulin, or the body becomes insulin resistant. Without proper insulin function, the bloodstream retains too much blood sugar.1
In the United States, 34.2 million adults have diabetes. Another 88 million adults have prediabetes, which also suggests higher blood sugar levels than normal. There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune reaction that is not known to be preventable.
- Type 2 diabetes develops over time and can be prevented or delayed through weight loss and healthy lifestyle choices.
- Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and although it may go away postpartum, it is a risk factor for future diabetes.1
Diabetes impacts on heart health
Diabetes may have negative effects on your heart health over time. In fact, many people with type 2 diabetes may eventually develop some form of cardiovascular disease. Diabetes can impact heart health in the following ways2:
- Heart disease
Diabetes can make your risk of developing obstructive coronary heart disease 2 to 4 times more likely. Because diabetes impacts blood sugar and blood flow, it may eventually contribute to blocked arteries, slowed blood flow, and blood vessel complications.3
- Blood pressure
People living with diabetes also have an increased risk of high blood pressure. These two conditions together cause increased strain on arteries, which may increase your risk of heart disease.
- Heart failure
Diabetes can contribute to blocked arteries and stiffened blood vessels, which may cause your heart to lose its ability to appropriately pump blood through the body.2