High blood sugar levels could lead to heart attack complications

Scientists at the University of Leicester have demonstrated for the first time the mechanism by which the level of sugar in your blood can affect the contraction of blood vessels, with potentially dangerous effects on the heart and blood pressure.


Researchers led by Dr Richard Rainbow from the University's Department of Cardiovascular Sciences have shown that blood vessels contract more strongly at raised glucose levels than at 'normal physiological' levels.

Blood vessels contract and relax to control blood pressure. In general, the more contracted the blood vessels are, the higher the blood pressure. Using electrophysiology and myography techniques to examine the impact of glucose on arterial myocytes, cells that make up the tissue of our blood vessels, the team has identified a mechanism that controls the narrowing of blood vessels.

The research comes as MPs and health experts debate proposals for a 'sugar tax' and highlights the potential health risks of consuming large amounts of rich, sugary foods regularly in your diet. With healthy eating among the most common New Year's resolutions, it adds another incentive to reduce our intake of these foods all year round.

Heart attacks occur when a coronary artery, which provides the blood to the heart muscle to give the required nutrients and oxygen, are blocked. High glucose at the time of heart attack could make this block more severe by causing the blood vessel to contract, leading to a higher risk of complications.

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