Hypoglycemia Initiates Cardiovascular Issues in Diabetics

December 16, 2014
Krystle Vermes

Scientists from the Diabetes Research Centre at the University of Leicester have identified a link between low blood glucose levels and adverse cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes.

Scientists from the Diabetes Research Centre at the University of Leicester have identified a link between low blood glucose levels and adverse cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes.

"This is one of the first studies to report the risk of cardiovascular events and mortality in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes,” said lead study author Kamlesh Khunti, MBChB, PhD, MD, FRCGP, DCH, DRCOG, in a press release. “The risks are very significant and we need to identify these patients early with a view to implementing strategies to reduce their risk of hypoglycemia."

According to Dr. Khunit and his co-authors, patients with diabetes have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and early death due to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels. When an individual’s blood glucose falls to dangerously low levels, cardiovascular complications can arise.

In the study published in Diabetes Care, insulin-treated patients with diabetes who experienced hypoglycemia had an approximately 60% greater risk of cardiovascular incidents and were 2 times more likely to die compared with those without hypoglycemia.

"The data from this important and large piece of research … confirms the significance of hypoglycemia and the link with an increased risk of cardiovascular events, a risk that persists over a long time period,” said study co-author Melanie Davies in the press release. “Going forward we need to focus on management strategies that help patients minimize their risk of having hypoglycemic events."