More than 70 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes die out of cardiovascular diseases, as per a recent report published in global medical journal, Lancet. The study stated that there has been 50 percent rise in CVDs among Indians. Heart Failure is the leading cause of mortality and repeat hospitalisations amongst all CVDs. Heart Failure is a progressive disease, caused due to the weakening of heart muscle, which becomes stiff over time. This reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood properly, thereby, limiting the amount of oxygen and nutrients circulated to the vital organs of the body. Diabetes can cause heart failure, due to diabetic cardiomyopathy. It is a disorder of the heart muscle in diabetic patients, due to which the heart is unable to circulate blood properly. Patients with Type 2 diabetes admitted in hospital for heart failure have a one in four chance of dying within 18 months.
Diabetics are often unable to identify the symptoms of heart failure as the symptoms might get subdued owing to their ongoing treatment of diabetes. This can lead to delayed diagnosis and patients might reach the doctor at an advanced stage of heart failure, in a condition where they need to be hospitalised. “Out of the total number of heart patients who consult me every month, approximately 10 percent patients have some degree of heart failure. The cases of heart failure are on the rise owing to the growing incidence of ischemic heart diseases and chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension,” said Dr. Dev Pahlajani, Intervention Cardiologist at Breach Candy Hospital.
It is important for diabetes patients to pay close attention to the following symptoms:
- Swelling in the ankles, legs, and abdomen: Fluid build-up might cause swelling in ankles, legs and abdomen. This is one of the key symptoms of heart failure.
- Constant tiredness and Fatigue: Fatigue is one of the most common problems associated with poorly controlled blood sugar. It is also an important symptom of Heart Failure. Given that the heart is unable to pump blood properly, the body becomes devoid of oxygen and nutrients and experiences fatigue.
- Uncontrolled Glucose levels: Nearly 1 in 7 patients with diabetes have poor glycemic control Poor glycemic control is a strong risk factor for hospitalization of Heart Failure patients with Type 2 diabetes.
- Shortness of Breath: Diabetics often miss a very important symptom of heart failure – shortness of breath, caused due to the fluid retention in the lungs. They tend to confuse it as a symptom of low levels of insulin in the body and don’t seek medical advice.
It is imperative for patients with chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension etc. to get themselves screened regularly. Heart failure in diabetes patients can be effectively managed with a timely diagnosis. Often after certain duration of receiving treatment, patients tend to discontinue medication as they become free of symptoms, which can lead to further worsening of the disease, therefore, adherence to treatment is a must.