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Diabetics and Angioplasty

Many medical procedures present increased risks for diabetics, and angioplasty is no exception. Diabetics who undergo angioplasty have a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, and death than people without diabetes. People with diabetes who undergo the procedure should be aware that what may seem like symptoms of blood sugar problems (such as anxiety, sweating, or shortness of breath) may signal serious complications resulting from angioplasty

Leaving the Hospital Following Angioplasty

As a diabetic, you are probably very knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms associated with abnormal blood sugar levels. After your balloon angioplasty, it is important not to assume that these symptoms are always related to blood sugar problems. Report to your doctor immediately if you have any sensation of anxiety, sweating, weakness, difficulty with your vision, or shortness of breath. These symptoms may reflect a complication from the angioplasty, such as vessel closure or a "silent heart attack." When having a silent heart attack, the patient doesn't develop the typical chest pain associated with heart attacks. Patients with diabetes are at a higher risk for these complications.

Angioplasty Risks as a Diabetic

As a diabetic, you have an increased risk of complications during and after an angioplasty. Diabetic patients who undergo angioplasty have a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, and death. Patients with diabetes also have a higher incidence of reclosure of blood vessels after angioplasty and stenting. Diabetics have a one-third higher closure rate of the expanded coronary artery in the weeks and months following angioplasty.
Abrupt closure of the blood vessel is also more common in diabetics who are at high risk for other problems. These problems include:
  • Having a reaction to certain drugs used during the procedure
  • Developing kidney failure or kidney damage.
Patients with diabetes are at increased risk for infection, and it may take longer for them to heal.
Because of your increased risk of complications, it is essential to communicate with your healthcare providers so they can be aware of any possible problems.
Your healthcare team is trained to observe, evaluate, and respond to any unusual situations that may arise.
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