Hypoglycemia can lead to a damaged heart
According to the results obtained from a new meta-analysis published online in the British Medical Journal, low sugar levels in the blood can damage the heart. The research was carried out by Mitsuhiko Noda from the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo, along with his colleagues.
For their study, the researchers analyzed the results of six cohort studies. This included 903, 510 individuals suffering from diabetes type 2. The researchers tried to find an association between severe hypoglycemia and incidence of cardiovascular events in these participants. All the people in the study were followed up for a duration ranging from one year to 5.6 years. Confounding factors like age, sex, history of micro-vascular complications were taken into account. It was seen that 0.6 percent to 5.8 percent of the patients developed symptoms of severe hypoglycemia during the study period.
The researchers observed that regardless of how hypoglycemia was defined in different studies, there was a definite correlation between hypoglycemia and cardiovascular diseases in the patients. The relative risk of developing such diseases ranged from 1.60 to 3.45. The researchers have opined that if one assumes that the association between hypoglycemia and cardiovascular disease is causal, severe hypoglycemia would be responsible for 1.56 percent of all cardiovascular diseases affecting the mankind.
Researchers have also opined that it would be wrong to blame comorbidities for the cardiovascular problems arising in such patients. For them to be blamed, the comorbidities have to be at least ten times more prevalent. The researchers have acknowledged that there are several shortcomings in their research. They could not include in their study people suffering from type 1 diabetes as cardiovascular events are rare in young people suffering from this condition. According to the researchers it is important to prevent episodes of severe hypoglycemia in diabetes patients. This can be achieved by lowering the target glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels and supporting the use of medicines like metformin which are less likely to produce severe hypoglycemia.
Editor: Dr. Bimal Rajalingam MBBS DNB (Resp Med)