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New Evidence Of How High Glucose Damages Blood Vessels Could Lead To New Treatments

Blood Vessels

Blood Vessels

Tweet Blood vessels are vital for the body and play a key role in diabetes helping to transport glucose and insulin. Blood vessels can be damaged by the effects of high blood glucose levels and this can in turn cause damage to organs, such as the heart and eyes, if significant blood vessel damage is sustained. About blood vessels The three main types of blood vessels are: Arteries Capillaries Veins Arteries carry blood to the organs and muscles. Capillaries are very small blood vessels which transfer oxygen and nutrients to cells and collect waste products from the cells. Veins are the blood vessels which carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Blood vessels role in blood sugar levels Blood vessels play an important role in diabetes as they carry glucose in the blood as well as hormones such as insulin. Too much glucose in the blood leads to the symptoms of diabetes. The body requires insulin to enable glucose to pass from the blood vessels into the cells that need energy. In type 1 diabetes Tweet Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) due to the body: Being ineffective at using the insulin it has produced; also known as insulin resistance and/or Being unable to produce enough insulin Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the body being unable to metabolise glucose (a simple sugar). This leads to high levels of blood glucose which over time may damage the organs of the body. From this, it can be understood that for someone with diabetes something that is food for ordinary people can become a sort of metabolic poison. This is why people with diabetes are advised to avoid sources of dietary sugar. The good news is for very many people with type 2 diabetes this is all they have to do to stay well. If you Continue reading >>

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that occurs in people who have diabetes. It causes progressive damage to the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious sight-threatening complication of diabetes. Diabetes interferes with the body's ability to use and store sugar (glucose). The disease is characterized by too much sugar in the blood, which can cause damage throughout the body, including the eyes. Over time, diabetes damages the blood vessels in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when these tiny blood vessels leak blood and other fluids. This causes the retinal tissue to swell, resulting in cloudy or blurred vision. The condition usually affects both eyes. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they will develop diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include: Seeing spots or floaters Blurred vision Having a dark or empty spot in the center of your vision Difficulty seeing well at night When people with diabetes experience long periods of high blood sugar, fluid can accumulate in the lens inside the eye that controls focusing. This changes the curvature of the lens, leading to blurred vision. However, once blood sugar levels are controlled, blurred distance vision will improve. Patients with diabetes who can better control their blood sugar levels will slow the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy. Often the early stages of diabetic retinopathy have no visual symptoms. That is why the American Optometric Association recommends that everyone with diabetes have a comprehensive dilated eye examination once a year. Early detection and treatment can limit the potential for significant vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. T Continue reading >>

Researchers Discover Root Cause Of Blood Vessel Damage In Diabetes

Researchers Discover Root Cause Of Blood Vessel Damage In Diabetes

A key mechanism that appears to contribute to blood vessel damage in people with diabetes has been identified by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Blood vessel problems are a common diabetes complication. Many of the nearly 26 million Americans with the disease face the prospect of amputations, heart attack, stroke and vision loss because of damaged vessels. Reporting in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the Washington University researchers say studies in mice show that the damage appears to involve two enzymes, fatty acid synthase (FAS) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS), that interact in the cells that line blood vessel walls. "We already knew that in diabetes there's a defect in the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels," says first author Xiaochao Wei, PhD. "People with diabetes also have depressed levels of fatty acid synthase. But this is the first time we've been able to link those observations together." Wei is a postdoctoral research scholar in the lab of Clay F. Semenkovich, MD, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor of Medicine, professor of cell biology and physiology and chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipid Research. Wei studied mice that had been genetically engineered to make FAS in all of their tissues except the endothelial cells that line blood vessels. These so-called FASTie mice experienced problems in the vessels that were similar to those seen in animals with diabetes. "It turns out that there are strong parallels between the complete absence of FAS and the deficiencies in FAS induced by lack of insulin and by insulin resistance," Semenkovich says. Comparing FASTie mice to normal animals, as well as to mice with diabetes, Wei and Semenkovich determined that mice without FAS, and with low Continue reading >>

How Diabetes Harms The Brain

How Diabetes Harms The Brain

TIME Health For more, visit TIME Health. When blood sugar levels start to climb in diabetes, a number of body systems are harmed—and that list includes the brain, since studies have linked diabetes with a higher risk of stroke and dementia. Now, a new study published in the journal Neurology reports that changes in blood vessel activity in the brains of diabetics may lead to drops in cognitive functions and their ability to perform daily activities. Dr. Vera Novak, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and her colleagues followed a group of 65 older people. About half had type 2 diabetes, and half did not. After two years, the diabetic patients had lower scores on cognitive tests compared to when they began, while people without diabetes showed little change on the tests. MORE: The Strange Way a Diabetes Drug May Help Skin Scars What drove the decline, says Novak, were changes in the brains of the diabetic patients. Diabetes can cause blood vessels to be less responsive to the ebb and flow of demand in different parts of the brain. Normally, flexible vessels will swell slightly to increase blood flow and oxygen to areas that are more intensely active, such as regions involved in memory or higher reasoning during intellectual tasks. But unchecked blood sugar can make these vessels less malleable and therefore less responsive. “When doing any task, from cognition to moving your fingers, you need to increase blood flow to that specific area of the brain,” says Novak. “With diabetes, however, that vasodilation ability is reduced, so you have fewer resources to perform any task.” MORE: Statins May Seriously Increase Diabetes Risk In the study, Novak measured the changes in the flexibility of the blood v Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Heart Disease — An Intimate Connection

Diabetes And Heart Disease — An Intimate Connection

By By Om P. Ganda, M.D., Director, Lipid Clinic, Joslin Diabetes Center A strong link between diabetes and heart disease is now well established. Studies from Joslin Diabetes Center several years ago showed a two- to threefold increase in the incidence of heart disease in patients with diabetes compared with those without diabetes who were being followed in the Framingham Heart Study. Women with diabetes have an even greater risk of heart disease compared with those of similar age who do not have diabetes. In fact, cardiovascular disease leading to heart attack or stroke is by far the leading cause of death in both men and women with diabetes. Another major component of cardiovascular disease is poor circulation in the legs, which contributes to a greatly increased risk of foot ulcers and amputations. Several advances in the treatment of heart disease over the past two decades have improved the chances of surviving a heart attack or stroke. However, as the incidence of diabetes steadily increases, so has the number of new cases of heart disease and cardiovascular complications. Unfortunately, in patients with diabetes, improvement in survival has been less than half as much as in the general population. Why Is Heart Disease So Common in People With Diabetes? Diabetes by itself is now regarded as the strongest risk factor for heart disease; however, a variety of mechanisms—not solely blood glucose levels—most likely come into play. The blood vessels in patients with diabetes are more susceptible to other well-established risk factors, such as smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and more than 90% of patients with diabetes have one or more of these additional risk factors. Some of the increased susceptibility to blood vessel damage that people with diabe Continue reading >>

Looking Past Blood Sugar To Survive With Diabetes

Looking Past Blood Sugar To Survive With Diabetes

Dave Smith found out he had Type 2 diabetes by accident, after a urine test. “Whoa, look at the sugar in here,” his doctor told him. Mr. Smith’s blood sugar level was sky high and glucose was spilling into his urine. That was about nine years ago, and from then on Mr. Smith, like so many with diabetes, became fixated on his blood sugar. His doctor warned him to control it or the consequences could be dire — he could end up blind or lose a leg. His kidneys could fail. Mr. Smith, a 43-year-old pastor in Fairmont, Minn., tried hard. When dieting did not work, he began counting carbohydrates, taking pills to lower his blood sugar and pricking his finger several times a day to measure his sugar levels. They remained high, so he agreed to add insulin to his already complicated regimen. Blood sugar was always on his mind. But in focusing entirely on blood sugar, Mr. Smith ended up neglecting the most important treatment for saving lives — lowering the cholesterol level. That protects against heart disease, which eventually kills nearly everyone with diabetes. He also was missing a second treatment that protects diabetes patients from heart attacks — controlling blood pressure. Mr. Smith assumed everything would be taken care of if he could just lower his blood sugar level. Blood sugar control is important in diabetes, specialists say. It can help prevent dreaded complications like blindness, amputations and kidney failure. But controlling blood sugar is not enough. Nearly 73,000 Americans die from diabetes annually, more than from any disease except heart disease, cancer, stroke and pulmonary disease. Yet, largely because of a misunderstanding of the proper treatment, most patients are not doing even close to what they should to protect themselves. In fact, accordi Continue reading >>

High Blood-sugar Levels May Harden Heart Valves

High Blood-sugar Levels May Harden Heart Valves

(Medical Xpress)—Rice University bioengineers have found new evidence of a possible link between diabetes and the hardening of heart valves. A Rice lab, in collaboration with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, discovered that the interstitial cells that turn raw materials into heart valves need just the right amount of nutrients for proper metabolic function. The surprise was that feeding them too much glucose, a sugar, slowed the cells down. Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by high blood-sugar levels over a long period; a 2006 study of atherosclerosis by University of Washington researchers found a correlation between diabetes and aortic-valve calcification. In the new work by the lab of Jane Grande-Allen of Rice's bioengineering department, recently ranked No. 5 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, researchers have directly seen the effect of high blood-sugar levels on heart-valve cell metabolism for the first time. The study appears this month in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. "The most significant result of the study is that high glucose concentration can actually be detrimental to the aortic-valve cells and their behavior in interacting with the extracellular matrix," said lead author Peter Kamel, who carried out the experiments as a Rice undergraduate. He is in his third year at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is completing a dual-degree program offered by the neighboring Houston institutions. "We've seen in a variety of other cell types, like cells in the kidney, the retina and nerves, that high glucose concentrations can directly damage those cells and their activities," he said. "That results in patients with diabetes having problems with vision and with their nerves and kid Continue reading >>

How Resveratrol Combats Leading Causes Of Death

How Resveratrol Combats Leading Causes Of Death

In 1997, the first scientific paper on resveratrol was published showing that this polyphenol could prevent cancer in experimental models.1 Since then, researchers have documented resveratrol’s ability to favorably modulate multiple processes associated with degenerative disease, from atherosclerosis to obesity. What had been lacking was a systematic, comprehensive overview of the available data to determine the underlying mechanisms by which resveratrol exerts its anti-aging effect. Until now! In 2011, the findings of the 2010 Resveratrol Conference2 held in Denmark were published. Its primary objective was to examine the totality of the evidence for resveratrol’s disease-preventing role in aging humans. Nearly 3,700 published studies were analyzed. In this article, you will discover the 12 mechanisms of action these experts identified by which resveratrol acts to combat the killer diseases of aging and delay the aging process itself. You will also learn of the latest data on resveratrol’s multimodal power to protect cells, tissues, and organ systems against five leading causes of death among Americans, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The participating scientists at the 2010 conference covered a broad range of research on the biological effects of resveratrol. Since 1997, roughly 3,650 studies on resveratrol have been published, all of which were reviewed. Based on the most encouraging data, they focused specifically on resveratrol’s capacity to favorably modulate factors involved in cancer, heart disease, neurodegeneration, systemic inflammation, obesity, and diabetes.1,2 Out of this extensive analysis they isolated 12 mechanisms by which resveratrol exerts its anti-aging, disease-preventing effects (See table 1). A thorough review of the litera Continue reading >>

Sodium-rich Diets Can Cause Damage Beyond High Blood Pressure

Sodium-rich Diets Can Cause Damage Beyond High Blood Pressure

Holiday brunches, buffets, dinners, and parties are often laden with salty food. For some people, a high-salt diet leads to high blood pressure, which makes the heart work harder and increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, or of developing heart failure or kidney disease. Other people are blessed with genes or physiology that lets them eat foods high in sodium without ever seeing a bump in their blood pressure. If you’re in the latter camp, is it OK to blithely eat ham, cheese logs, and other salty holiday foods? No. As my colleagues David Edwards, Claudine Jurkovitz, William Weintraub, and I wrote in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, too much sodium in the diet can damage health even when blood pressure stays normal. By weight, salt is about 40 percent sodium. The human body needs some sodium to transmit nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and balance fluids throughout the body. The average person needs less than 500 milligrams of sodium a day to survive, but gets about 3,400 milligrams, nearly seven times what’s needed. Very high dietary sodium appears to be especially harmful to blood vessels. It damages their innermost layer, called the endothelial layer. This thin sheet of cells helps blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow when the need arises. Damage to the endothelial layer sets the stage for atherosclerosis, the main artery-clogging disease process underlying nearly all cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks and poor blood flow to the legs and brain. Atherosclerosis can also cause kidney problems and vascular dementia. Even when sodium doesn’t boost blood pressure, too much of it in the diet can: Harm the heart. Too much sodium can increase the size and the thickness of the left ventricle, the heart’ Continue reading >>

Merck And The Merck Manuals

Merck And The Merck Manuals

Atherosclerosis, the most common type, means hardening related to plaques, which are deposits of fatty materials. It affects medium-sized and large arteries. Arteriolosclerosis means hardening of the arterioles, which are small arteries. It affects primarily the inner and middle layers of the walls of arterioles. The walls thicken, narrowing the arterioles. As a result, organs supplied by the affected arterioles do not receive enough blood. The kidneys are often affected. This disorder occurs mainly in people who have high blood pressure or diabetes. Either of these disorders may stress the walls of arterioles, resulting in thickening. Mönckeberg arteriosclerosis affects small to medium-sized arteries. Calcium accumulates within the walls of arteries, making them stiff but not narrow. This essentially harmless disorder usually affects men and women older than 50. Causes of Atherosclerosis Infections with some bacteria or viruses (such as Chlamydia pneumoniae or cytomegalovirus) may also increase inflammation in the artery's inner lining (endothelium) and lead to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerotic Plaque The wall of an artery is composed of several layers. The lining or inner layer (endothelium) is usually smooth and unbroken. Atherosclerosis begins when the lining is injured or diseased. Then certain white blood cells called monocytes and T cells are activated and move out of the bloodstream and through the lining of an artery into the artery’s wall. Inside the lining, they are transformed into foam cells, which are cells that collect fatty materials, mainly cholesterol. In time, smooth muscle cells move from the middle layer into the lining of the artery’s wall and multiply there. Connective and elastic tissue materials also accumulate there, as may cell debris, cho Continue reading >>

Complications Of Diabetes Mellitus

Complications Of Diabetes Mellitus

The complications of diabetes mellitus are far less common and less severe in people who have well-controlled blood sugar levels. Acute complications include hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, diabetic coma and nonketotic hyperosmolar coma. Chronic complications occur due to a mix of microangiopathy, macrovascular disease and immune dysfunction in the form of autoimmune disease or poor immune response, most of which are difficult to manage. Microangiopathy can affect all vital organs, kidneys, heart and brain, as well as eyes, nerves, lungs and locally gums and feet. Macrovascular problems can lead to cardiovascular disease including erectile dysfunction. Female infertility may be due to endocrine dysfunction with impaired signalling on a molecular level. Other health problems compound the chronic complications of diabetes such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and lack of regular exercise which are accessible to management as they are modifiable. Non-modifiable risk factors of diabetic complications are type of diabetes, age of onset, and genetic factors, both protective and predisposing have been found. Overview[edit] Complications of diabetes mellitus are acute and chronic. Risk factors for them can be modifiable or not modifiable. Overall, complications are far less common and less severe in people with well-controlled blood sugar levels.[1][2][3] However, (non-modifiable) risk factors such as age at diabetes onset, type of diabetes, gender and genetics play a role. Some genes appear to provide protection against diabetic complications, as seen in a subset of long-term diabetes type 1 survivors without complications .[4][5] Statistics[edit] As of 2010, there were about 675,000 diabetes-related emergency department (ED) visits in the Continue reading >>

Diabetes

Diabetes

An estimated 347 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes1,or nearly five per cent of the population, with approximately 3.4 million dying as a consequence per year2. Currently eighty per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries3, driving the need for cheaper, easier treatments. The World Health Organisation predicts that diabetes will be the 7th largest cause of death in 20304. Symptoms include raging thirst, rapid weight loss, tiredness and passing large quantities of sugary urine. Diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke - 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke), compared to 30% across the world population5 6. Type 1 diabetes (previously known as insulin-dependent, juvenile or childhood-onset) is characterized by deficient insulin production. Type 2 diabetes (formerly called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset) results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. Treatment of diabetes involves lowering blood glucose and the levels of other known risk factors that damage blood vessels. People with type 1 diabetes require insulin; people with type 2 diabetes can be treated with oral medication, but may also require insulin. Discovery of insulin Type 1 diabetes Type 2 diabetes Animal Models Current treatments Current research References Discovery of insulin The discovery, isolation and purification of insulin in the 1920s was a significant medical advance, preventing premature deaths in many sufferers. In 1889 Joseph von Mering and Oskar Minkowski showed that removing the pancreas from a dog produced diabetes7. This was the first demonstration that there was an anti-diabetic factor produced by the pancreas which enabled the body to use sugars in the blood properly. Continue reading >>

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

If you have diabetes, it is vital that you have your eyes checked regularly. Damage to the retina at the back of the eye (retinopathy) is a common complication of diabetes. If left untreated, it can become worse and cause some loss of vision, or total loss of vision (severe sight impairment) in severe cases. Good control of blood sugar (glucose) and blood pressure slows down the progression of retinopathy. Treatment with a laser, before the retinopathy becomes severe, can often prevent loss of vision. What is diabetic retinopathy? The term retinopathy covers various disorders of the retina, which can affect vision. Retinopathy is usually due to damage to the tiny blood vessels in the retina. Retinopathy is commonly caused by diabetes but is sometimes caused by other diseases such as very high blood pressure (hypertension). Note: people with diabetes also have a higher risk of developing other eye problems, including cataracts and glaucoma. How does diabetic retinopathy occur? Over several years, a high blood sugar (glucose) level can weaken and damage the tiny blood vessels in the retina. This can result in various problems which include: Small blow-out swellings of blood vessels (microaneurysms). Small leaks of fluid from damaged blood vessels (exudates). Small bleeds from damaged blood vessels (haemorrhages). Blood vessels may just become blocked. This can cut off the blood and oxygen supply to small sections of the retina. New abnormal blood vessels may grow from damaged blood vessels. This is called proliferative retinopathy. These new vessels are delicate and can bleed easily. The leaks of fluid, bleeds and blocked blood vessels may damage the cells of the retina. In some severe cases, damaged blood vessels bleed into the jelly-like centre of the eye (the vitreous Continue reading >>

Diabetic Neuropathy: Causes And Symptoms

Diabetic Neuropathy: Causes And Symptoms

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy—DPN for short—is diabetes-related damage to nerves that sit near the surface of your skin. DPN usually affects the feet and the hands, but can also harm nerves in arms and legs. Approximately 50 percent of people with type 2 diabetes and 20% of those with type 1 diabetes develop this kind of nerve damage.1 DPN can be extremely painful—or cause numbness so that you have little feeling, especially in your feet. DPN damages two different types of nerves close to the surface of your skin. DPN can affect small nerves that protect your body by sending signals about pain and temperature changes to your brain. This condition can also attack large nerves that detect touch, pressure and help you keep your balance. 2 Symptoms are different for each type. Most people with DPN have damage to both types of nerves. DPN usually affects extremities—feet, hands, legs and arms—where nerve fibers are the longest and most numerous. 3 Causes Experts are still investigating exactly how diabetes harms and kills these nerve cells. “The causes remain unknown,” the American Diabetes Association noted in a definitive 2017 review. One thing is certain: The conventional wisdom—that high blood sugar is the cause—is just part of the story. New research is revealing a bigger cast of culprits. These include high cholesterol, high triglycerides (another blood fat), high blood pressure, obesity and smoking, according to a British research report in a widely-cited 2005 study that tracked 1,172 people with diabetes for seven years. 4 The threats are major: Obesity and high triglycerides each doubled risk in people with diabetes in a 2013 University of Utah study of 218 people with type 2 diabetes. 5 Smoking increased risk by as much as 42% in a 2015 Harvard M Continue reading >>

Mouse Study Reveals Mechanism Behind Diabetes Blood Vessel Damage

Mouse Study Reveals Mechanism Behind Diabetes Blood Vessel Damage

It is well known that diabetes wreaks havoc on the vascular system. In fact, vascular complications arising from diabetes are the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and cardiovascular problems in the U.S. And yet, the physiological mechanisms that link diabetes, which afflicts 26 million Americans, to sickly blood vessels are poorly understood. Researchers have now identified key interactions among two enzymes that may help connect the dots between insulin control and the integrity of blood vessels. The two enzymes work in tandem to regulate the production of nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes blood vessels. The findings, shown in mice, could provide targets for drugs that would be designed to prevent and offset vascular damage. "Sadly, most people with diabetes will die from vascular complications," says Clay Semenkovich of Washington University in Saint Louis School of Medicine, co-author of the study published January 28 in The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Diabetes contributes to large blood vessel damage associated with common cardiovascular problems such as stroke and heart disease, but diabetes also deteriorates small blood vessels found in the eyes, kidneys and around nerves. "Small-vessel disease is fairly specific for diabetes, while large-vessel disease also occurs in people without diabetes, especially smokers," Semenkovich says. As a metabolic disease, diabetes causes a cascade of problems, many linked to high blood levels of glucose and lipids. "Increased sugars and fats promote oxidative stress—the production of excessive amounts of oxygen-derived free radicals that can damage blood vessels," according to Semenkovich. The damage manifests as inflammation. Nitric oxide, produced by the enzyme nitric-oxide synthase (NOS), helps reduce inflammatio Continue reading >>

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