Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Raised glucose and raised blood pressure - syngergistic effect

Arterial stiffness is an indicator of arterial damage and cardiovascular risk. A study was performed to see if elevated blood glucose and raised blood pressure, even at levels below what is defined as diabetes and hypertension, might work synergistically to increase arterial stiffness.

Raised blood pressure was defined as 130/85 or higher. Raised blood glucose was defined as 110mg/dL or higher. Results of the 3-year study on 2080 Japanese men, average age 42, indicated that the estimated annual rate of increase of arterial stiffness (pulse wave velocity) was higher in subjects with both the abnormalities than in those with either abnormality alone or neither of the 2 abnormalities.

Researchers concluded that blood pressure and fasting plasma glucose levels, even below those defining hypertension and diabetes, may synergistically lead to progression of arteriosclerotic arterial damage. This synergistic progression may contribute to the additive increases in the risk of cardiovascular events, at least in part.

What to learn from this? Physicians and patients should aggressively treat these two risk factors for cardiovascular disease even if they are not elevated enough for one to diagnose hypertension or heart disease. And, this is especially true for small elevations of both.

(Hypertension is "officially" defined as having a reading equal to or above 140 and/or 90.
Diabetes is "officially" defined as having a reading equal to or above a fasting level of 126 mg/dL.)

We now see that results lower than the official minimums, when combined, act to increase arterial stiffness and, perhaps, cardiovascular risk.

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