Break another little piece of my heart (Diabetes and heart disease)

Type 1 Diabetes Blog

Break another little piece of my heart (Diabetes and heart disease)

I was in my late 20s when I had an abnormal EKG during my annual physical.  The doctor I had at the time freaked out.  He immediately scheduled me for a cardiac stress test.  He prescribed blood pressure and cholesterol medications.  It was all very disconcerting.  I had just come out of graduate school where I had really poor coverage under my student health plan.  My blood sugar levels were pretty crazy considering that and all the stress that comes along with pursuing a graduate degree.  And it was a wake up call.


You see… I’d finally hit the stage of my diabetes where I really needed to start thinking about complications.  No more honeymoon for me.  I really needed to get my blood sugars to become stable if I wanted to avoid some serious health issues as a result of poor control.  As a kid growing up with diabetes, I often heard about all the things that I might have happen to me if I didn’t control my blood sugars.  I’d go blind.  I’d have a hand or foot amputated.  I wouldn’t be able to have kids.  But something I didn’t really hear about was heart disease.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe they hadn’t really linked it as a long term complication with diabetes yet.  


Now as an adult, heart disease is all around me.  I’ve had family members with various heart related ailments - strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots.  And while I’ve been fortunate and worked hard enough that I no longer have to take the blood pressure and cholesterol medications, I still have to think about the effects that diabetes has on my heart.  It’s already a difficult task to manage my diabetes without having to worry about an invisible complication that has different symptoms for me, as a woman, than those experienced by others. The only way I know I can deal with it is to educate myself as much as possible.  I hope that you do the same.   And that your hearts continue to beat strong as I know you are...


For more information on the heart disease symptoms to watch out for as a woman, visit: