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Problems with heart and blood vessels

When blood glucose levels are high for a long time, it can damage the blood vessels and nerves. This can lead to a loss of blood supply to the legs and feet. It can also cause problems with your heart.
Content last reviewed and updated: 09.08.2023

Problems with heart and blood vessels

People with type 1 diabetes are more likely to experience high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Both conditions cause damage to the blood vessels. If the blood can’t flow around your body as it needs to, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

It could also cause a blockage of blood vessels to the legs and feet. This can lead to foot ulcers and infections. In severe cases, it can cause the loss of a toe, foot or lower leg.

Getting diagnosed with heart problems

Getting your blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure checked at least once a year should help manage your risk of developing problems with your heart and blood vessels. This will be done as part of your annual review.

Reducing your risk of heart problems

Keep your heart healthy by managing your blood glucose levels within your target range as much as possible. It also helps to control your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Eat a healthy and balanced diet and be physically active whenever possible. If you’re a smoker, you can get help to stop.

Try to check your feet every day so you can spot any cuts and wounds and get them treated early. You’ll find more information on our foot problems page.

Treatments for heart problems

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you’ll be given advice about making changes to your lifestyle. Some people will need medication to help.

Your Diabetes Healthcare Team or GP will give you more information about the treatments that are right for you.

Where to go for more support

Heart attacks and strokes are serious medical emergencies. If you think you’re experiencing a heart attack or stroke, call 999. You can find helpful information about spotting the signs on the NHS website.


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