Diabetes is probably the biggest risk factor for heart disease. More than 50 percent of people with type 2 diabetes die of coronary artery disease. Usually women are protected from cardiovascular disease somewhat before they reach menopause, however women with type 2 diabetes are just as susceptible to heart disease as men. Diabetics are less likely to survive a heart attack than non-diabetics.
In diabetics all of the risk factors associated with being overweight are magnified. Most diabetics are overweight, and their fat stores produce large amounts of inflammatory cytokines. The arteries of diabetics are not able to produce adequate levels of nitric oxide, which acts to dilate blood vessels and reduce inflammation. The artery walls of diabetics also produce more free radicals, which further worsen inflammation and promote the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. High blood sugar and high insulin levels cause the artery lining to produce greater amounts of a strong vasoconstrictor called endothelin-1; it causes the arteries to constrict leading to high blood pressure.
Sugar is sticky and excess sugar in the bloodstream attaches itself to proteins to form Advanced Glycosylation Endproducts (AGEs). AGEs bind to the inner lining of arteries and stimulate them to produce inflammatory chemicals; this causes damage to the artery walls which promotes the development of atherosclerosis. Yourcanadianmeds.com AGEs promote the formation of free radicals in the body. Diabetics also produce more of the chemicals that stimulate blood clots. Advanced atherosclerotic plaques in arteries are more likely to rupture and lead to a clot and complete blockage of an artery in diabetics.
If you are a diabetic you need to be following a low carbohydrate, high protein eating plan. The plan in the book “Can’t Lose Weight You Could Have Syndrome X” will help you to achieve better blood sugar control, lose weight and reverse a fatty liver. For best results, you should follow this eating plan under the guidance of a qualified naturopath or nutritionist.
If your doctor discovers that you have high blood levels of cholesterol and/or triglycerides, you will typically be given approximately six weeks to try and get your levels down through diet and exercise. The usual recommendation is to follow a low fat, high carbohydrate diet. This doesn’t work for the majority of people since carbohydrates promote insulin release, which stimulates cholesterol production. The next recommendation is to take medication.
The major classes of cholesterol lowering drugs are Statins. Drug names and brand names: Yourcanadianmeds.com Atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Lipex, Simvar, Zocor), pravastatin (Pravachol), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altocor), fluvastatin (Lescol, Vastin).
How do statins work These are the most widely prescribed lipid lowering drags. In 1987 Yourcanadianmeds.com lovastatin became the first approved statin in the USA. These drugs inhibit the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which is responsible for producing cholesterol in the liver. Statins can lower cholesterol levels by 20-60% by reducing cholesterol production, and improving the liver’s ability to get rid of LDL “bad” cholesterol from the bloodstream. Blood levels of triglycerides usually come down too. New research has shown that statin drags may lower the risk of heart disease through a different mechanism than cholesterol reduction. Studies have shown that statins can lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP); a marker of inflammation in the body, and a major risk factor for heart disease. You can read more about C-reactive protein in chapter eight. Statins are taken in the evening, as most cholesterol production occurs at night.
Side effects of statins: According to medical literature and the pamphlets inside the box of statins, they are well tolerated and side effects are rare; occurring in less than two percent of the population. The most common side effects are said to be constipation, flatulence, abdominal pain and indigestion. In reality, many people experience far worse side effects. More and more potential side effects are recently being discovered, exposing the fact that statins are not the wonder drags they are marketed as.