Personalizing Heart Health May Improve Diabetic Outcomes

A new study shows that genetic testing and personalized heart health care can improve diabetic outcomes when it comes to heart health. Heart disease is closely associated with type 2 diabetes, with diabetics being about twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease. This new research could help lower those risks.

The research team, headed by Dr. Allessandro Doria of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Massachusetts, the paradox of careful control of glycemic levels and higher risk of heart attack has a reason and can be avoided. Dr. Doria is referring to a 2008 study which showed that type 2 diabetics who achieved tight glycemic control had higher risk of fatal heart attacks than those who did not. This finding seemed out of place given the heart health and type 2 diabetes control studies that had come before.

The new study shows genetic variants associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

One of the two genetic variants found is linked with a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). GLP-1, the study says, drops quickly during intensive glycemic control as opposed to patients who do not have that variant. Because low levels of GLP-1 are associated with cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, the study's authors believe that it could lead to treatment programs that include already-approved agonist drugs for GLP-1.

"GLP-1 is produced by intestinal cells, and its main action is to stimulate insulin secretion from beta cells, but the hormone also has a beneficial effect on the heart and blood vessels that is independent from its action on insulin secretion," says Doria. The use of these drugs could help alleviate the problems associated with tight glycemic controls in patients susceptible to their possible cardiovascular side-effects.

Doria and his co-workers will follow up on their work with experiments in cells that help them understand how the genetic variant affects GLP-1 production.

Source: Eurekalert.org

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