Diabetics' Hearts Rely on Fat for Energy

Published Online: Saturday, April 1, 2006

The results of a new study may explain why 65% of patients with diabetes die from heart attack or stroke. The researchers based their results on a comparison of heart function in 11 patients with type 1 diabetes and 11 patients without the disease.

The researchers found that the cardiac muscle of patients with diabetes relies heavily on fat for energy and depends very little on the usual energy source, glucose (sugar). In comparison, the heart muscle of individuals without diabetes does not have a strong inclination for fat and can use either glucose or fat as an energy source. It depends on the individual?s blood composition, hormone levels, or how hard the heart is working. (The findings were reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, February 7, 2006).

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