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Diabetes and Aortic Stenosis: A Lethal Combination

by Matt Weik

Every day around 2,000 gallons of blood is circulated through the heart and body, and there are four valves that help control the flow. Now, if one becomes narrow, the heart needs to exert extra pressure and work harder to pump the blood. In such situations, you may find that you are tired and out of breath. And in medical terms, this condition is known as aortic stenosis.

Though the exact cause of this condition is unknown, several factors are great influencers like smoking, high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, genetics, and more. Among these, diabetes is one of the most dangerous factors, which when combined with aortic stenosis, may create a lethal combination.

As per studies, both diabetes and aortic stenosis are progressive diseases that, if left untreated, can result in significant morbidity and mortality.

Let’s check out how diabetes and aortic stenosis are interrelated and how patients with diabetes are at a higher risk of aortic stenosis.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. If you want to learn more about diabetes or aortic stenosis or feel you have either condition, speak with your healthcare professional to find out more details and to get checked.

The Relation Between Diabetes and Aortic Stenosis

In the case of aortic stenosis, the heart needs to exert more pressure in order to pump blood throughout the body. This extra pressure results in the expansion of the left side of the heart, which is known as Ventricular Hypertrophy. In severe cases, the blood is not circulated properly to the brain and body.

Now, having diabetes can aggravate this situation and increase the chances of heart failure. Also, because of the high proportion of protein, there are chances of increased heart inflammation.

Next, the buildup of calcium is one of the leading causes of aortic stenosis. And people with diabetes have a higher chance of calcium buildup, which can further damage the heart.

Putting this all together, diabetes can contribute to calcium formation and inflammation, which can ultimately lead to aortic stenosis.

As per a 2012 study, people with diabetes and aortic stenosis have more inflammation as compared to people who did not have diabetes. Diabetes leads to an increase in protein levels, which leads to greater inflammation.

Another study shows that people with diabetes develop severe aortic stenosis faster than people without diabetes. For this, researchers did an echocardiogram assessment for people with aortic stenosis (an echocardiogram assessment shows how much narrowing has been done by the aortic stenosis).

A 2011 study shows that diabetes can lead to heart enlargement and heart failure for people with aortic stenosis. This is because when aortic stenosis worsens, the heart needs to work extra to pump blood, which can lead to ventricular hypertrophy.

What Can You Do?

First, speak with a healthcare professional. Don’t rely on a Google Ph.D. to answer your questions. If you have diabetes, you need to be extremely careful regarding monitoring the early symptoms of aortic stenosis. It can include fatigue, fainting, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat.

In case you witness any such symptoms, you should not ignore them and seek immediate help from a healthcare professional because these symptoms worsen aortic stenosis and can cause irreparable damage to the body.

Precautions

The best thing you can do in this situation is to control diabetes. Here are a few precautions you can take:

  • Measure glucose levels and keep them under control
  • Keep an eye on your blood pressure
  • Try to lower cholesterol levels
  • Adopt a healthy and well-balanced nutrition plan
  • Control your body weight and body fat
  • Limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Include items that are low in sodium and saturated fats

You can also consult your doctor and take medications that can keep your blood sugar levels under control, and that can enhance the blood flow to the different parts of the body.

Final Words

As a final take-home message… if you have both diabetes and aortic stenosis, it is best to work closely with your healthcare professional in order to avoid any adverse effects. They can give you a much better idea of what you should be doing and what you should be staying away from and be conscious of during your day-to-day life. This condition is extremely dangerous and should not be taken lightly.

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