Controlling inflammation may be the answer to diabetes-induced heart disease
Blood vessel damage caused by high glucose levels may be mostly caused by inflammation, according to a new study from the American Heart Association.
The findings suggest that anti-inflammatory medications or anti-inflammatory diets might be helpful in lowering risk for heart disease in diabetics.
Testing smooth muscle cells from the human aorta (the main artery), the researchers found that when inflammation-stimulating proteins were present, more glucose entered cells. Without inflammation, excess glucose didn't enter cells - and when it was forced into cells, no harm was done if there was no inflammation present.
"These findings may explain why good blood sugar control is not sufficient to avoid the development of diabetes-induced cardiovascular diseases," Dr. Carlos F. Sánchez-Ferrer, study author and professor of pharmacology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, said in a statement. "We need to find new medications focused on reducing inflammation."
Reducing the 'inflammatory environment'
Dr. Sánchez-Ferrer suggests that controlling the inflammatory environment associated with diabetes - beyond just anti-inflammatory medications - could help to prevent serious cardiovascular complications.
"Changes in life-style, such as physical exercise and weight reduction, are important not only because they reduce blood sugar but because they reduce inflammation."
The study was presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions 2014.
Source: American Heart Association