Diabetic cardiomyopathy: from the pathophysiology of the cardiac myocytes to current diagnosis and management strategies
Christina Voulgari, Dimitrios Papadogiannis, Nicholas Tentolouris
First Department of Propaedeutic and Internal Medicine, Athens University Medical School, Laiko General Hospital, Athens, Greece
Abstract: Diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM), although a distinct clinical entity, is also a part of the diabetic atherosclerosis process. It may be independent of the coexistence of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, or other macrovascular complications. Its pathological substrate is characterized by the presence of myocardial damage, reactive hypertrophy, and intermediary fibrosis, structural and functional changes of the small coronary vessels, disturbance of the management of the metabolic cardiovascular load, and cardiac autonomic neuropathy. These alterations make the diabetic heart susceptible to ischemia and less able to recover from an ischemic attack. Arterial hypertension frequently coexists with and exacerbates cardiac functioning, leading to the premature appearance of heart failure. Classical and newer echocardiographic methods are available for early diagnosis. Currently, there is no specific treatment for DCM; targeting its pathophysiological substrate by effective risk management protects the myocardium from further damage and has a recognized primary role in its prevention. Its pathophysiological substrate is also the objective for the new therapies and alternative remedies.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, cardiac autonomic neuropathy, echocardiography, treatment strategies
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