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What is the Connection Between Diabetes and Congestive Heart Failure

written by: DaniellaNicole • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 8/31/2010

What connection is between diabetes and congestive heart failure? Learn the risk factors and how diabetes is connected to congestive heart failure.

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    If you are wondering what connection is between diabetes and congestive heart failure, the following may be of help.

    Congestive heart failure (CHF) is also referred to as simply heart failure. It is a condition in which your heart cannot function properly and is not pumping enough blood through your body. The congestive part comes in when this problem of inefficient blood pumping causes blood to congest the liver, lungs, lower extremities and abdomen.

    There are multiple causes of congestive heart failure and a few can be reversed. Diabetes is one of the risk factors for CHF.

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    Diabetes and the Heart

    Diabetes causes an increased risk for coronary artery disease that leads to congestive heart failure. Diabetics often suffer from hypertension and artherosclerosis due to elevated levels of lipids in the bloodstream. Both conditions are associated with heart failure.Obesity/overweight, inactivity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are associated with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and are also risk factors for developing conditions that can lead to heart failure.

    The American Heart Association lists previous heart attacks, sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal valves in the heart, heart defects, cardiomyopathy and severe lung disease as risk factors for heart failure. A person who has more than one of these conditions is at a much higher risk.

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    Diabetes Drugs and the Heart

    Sulfonylureas have been used in diabetes treatment since the 1950s. Recent research indicates that these may be linked to heart failure at a rate of higher risk for diabetics at a rate of up to 30%. This applies to those using second-generation sulfonylureas as compared to Glucophage.

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    Reducing the Risk

    To reduce the risk for congestive heart failure, diabetics can take steps to manage their diabetes effectively. Lifestyle changes include losing extra weight, regularly exercising, taking medication as directed, eating as directed by your doctor or dietician and quitting smoking.

    By following these lifestyle changes, it is possible for type 2 diabetes to be reversed. This can lower the risk for congestive heart failure for diabetics.

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    Summary

    What connection is between diabetes and congestive heart failure? The connection between diabetes and congestive heart failure is multifaceted, but does show some possibility for reduction of risk.

    Though diabetes and several of the factors associated with it can increase the risk for congestive heart failure, with careful management, at least some of these factors can be controlled or even reversed. Not only does this help reduce the risk for heart failure, but it can help reduce the need for diabetes medication and reduce other risks and problems associated with diabetes.

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    References

    Heart Failure. Mayo Clinic Staff. December 23, 2009. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-failure/DS00061

    Heart Failure – What Increases Your Risk. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/tc/heart-failure-what-increases-your-risk

    Popular Diabetes Drug Tied to Heart Failure. Salynn Boyles. WebMD Health News. December 4, 2009. Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD. http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20091204/metformin-vs-sulfonylureas-for-diabetes

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