London, Jan 6 (IANS) Increased sugar levels in blood change the behaviour of blood vessels making them contract more strongly than normal which could result in higher blood pressure and increase the risk of heart attack complications, a study says.
Blood vessels contract and relax to control blood pressure. In general, the more contracted the blood vessels are, the higher the blood pressure.
Examining 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.
“We have shown that the amount of sugar, or glucose, in the blood changes the behaviour of blood vessels making them contract more than normal. This could result in higher blood pressure, or could reduce the amount of blood that flows through vital organs,” explained one of the researchers Richard Rainbow from University of Leicester in Britain.
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.
“Our studies show that glucose has an important physiological effect on the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system. Increases in blood sugar to pathophysiological levels cause marked changes in normal blood vessel and cardiac muscle behaviour that could be life-threatening if left untreated,” Rainbow noted.
The findings add another incentive to reduce intake of large amounts of rich, sugary foods regularly in your diet.
“In the experimental models we used in this study, including human blood vessels, increasing glucose to the levels that could be reached after a large meal altered vascular contraction,” Rainbow pointed out.
The study appeared in the British Journal of Pharmacology.