Uncontrolled Diabetes with Heart
Disease Poses Serious Threat
More than 14 million people in
the United States, including 184,000
Arizonans, have diabetes, but only
half know they have this potentially
Diabetes is a disorder of the
metabolism, the body’s mechanism
for converting food into energy. A
diabetic doesn’t produce the right
amount of the hormone insulin,
which is necessary for the body
to use glucose, its main source of
Diabetes can strike people of
any age or ethnic background at
any time. But those at higher risk
are older than 45, overweight, lack
exercise, and have a family member
Most people don’t know they
have diabetes until symptoms develop, such as infections that are slow
to heal, impaired vision, frequent
urination, numbness of the hands
or feet, excessive thirst or hunger,
and sometimes sudden weight loss.
Those who fail to receive treatment
to control diabetes may develop
complications, including heart attacks, kidney disease, eye diseases,
strokes, loss of limbs and death.
In Arizona one of every 35 people
has diabetes, yet people know very
little about this condition and the
fact that it can be controlled.
Heart disease is one of the most
serious complications of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
Half of all patients newly diagnosed
with type 2 diabetes have coronary
heart disease at the time of diag-
nosis, and at least 58% die of heart
disease. In addition, they die earlier,
at more die at their ﬁrst heart attack.
Part of the reason for these
serious ﬁndings may be that heart
disease is worse in persons with
diabetes, says Dr. Gail Turner, who
is a cardiologist specializing in
the care of diabetic patients with
heart disease. A substantial number of diabetic patients have silent
heart attacks and asymptomatic
heart failure due to diabetes and/or
hypertension. For these reasons, the
additional left ventricular damage
imposed by a heart attack results in
a greater degree of congestive heart
failure with a higher chance of dying than in non-diabetics. Also, the
platelets of diabetic patients may be
partially resistant to aspirin.
Dr. Turner says some of the higher
chances of dying stems from problems in diagnosing a heart attack in a
diabetic patient which may lead to a
delay in appropriate treatment.
Moreover, studies have detected a
higher anginal perceptual threshold
in diabetic persons during exercise.
Diabetics exercise longer in the
face of short oxygen to the heart
before experiencing angina than the
non-diabetics. Dr. Turner suggests
that diabetic neuropathy may lead
to nerve damage that interrupts
transmission of pain impulses from
the heart to the brain.
Therefore, diabetic persons must
be educated to recognize symptoms
that may signal heart attack, such as
severe shortness of breath.
Dr. Gail Turner, MD, FACC
Accept Medicare & Most Insurance
Dr. Gail Turner
♥ Full Time in Payson
♥ Board Certiﬁed Cardiologist
♥ Diabetes Management
♥ Heart Failure Specialist
♥ Coronary Disease
♥ Atrial Fibrillation
♥ Heart Murmurs
404 W. Main St. • 472-2888 • Open Mon-Wed-Fri 9am-5pm
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