A new study conducted by a team of researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Auckland has discovered why most patients with hypertension also suffer from diabetes.
Hypertension is also referred to as high blood pressure and is known to increase an individual’s risk of stroke and heart disease, among other indications. It can also cause severe health complications, sometimes leading to death. On the other hand, diabetes is a chronic health condition that develops when an individual’s body can’t effectively use the insulin it produces or when their pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. The condition, which is sometimes referred to as high blood sugar, affects how an individual’s body turns food consumed into energy.
The researchers found that a protein cell GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) links how an individual’s body controls blood pressure as well as blood sugar. This small protein stimulates insulin from the pancreas to control levels of blood sugar. It is released from the gut’s walls after food consumption. Researchers also found that the glucagon-like peptide-1 stimulated the carotid body, which is found in the neck.
For their study, the researchers used RNA sequencing to read every message of the genes expressed in the carotid body in mice models, with and without hypertension. They discovered that while the receptor that sensed GLP-1 was located in the carotid body, its levels were lower in rats with hypertension.
David Murphy, a professor of experimental medicine at the University of Bristol, stated that discovering this link required numerous steps of validation and genetic profiling, noting that this finding opened many new opportunities.
Professor Julian Paton, the director of the University of Auckland’s Center for Heart Research, stated that the carotid body was the convergent point where the protein cell acted to control both the blood pressure and blood sugar levels at the same time.
Individuals with high blood pressure and/or diabetes have a heightened risk of life-threatening cardiovascular illness. A large number of patients with these indications will still have a high risk, even while on medication. This is because most drugs don’t treat the causes of diabetes and hypertension but rather the symptoms of these conditions.
Paton added that this new discovery would help inform new treatment strategies for these chronic conditions. Both Paton and Murphy were senior authors of this study, which included contributions from collaborating researchers in Serbia, Lithuania, Germany and Brazil. The study’s findings were published in “Circulation Research.”
Both of those chronic health conditions — diabetes and hypertension — is grave enough on its own, and having both can aggravate one’s mortality risk. It is therefore advisable to use any means available, such as the continuous glucose monitoring devices made by Nemaura Medical Inc. (NASDAQ: NMRD), to help keep diabetes manageable while also taking medication for high blood pressure.
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