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Dipping blood sugars cause surprisingly irregular heart rhythms in diabetics
Date:4/28/2014

The findings from the research led by Professor Simon Heller of the University of Sheffield's Department of Human Metabolism and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - could offer vital clues to the mechanism by which low blood sugar levels could contribute to life-threatening changes in heart rhythm, a major risk for patients with diabetes.

They also shed important new light on the 'Dead in Bed' syndrome where young people without any history of long-term complications die suddenly from the disease.

Previous studies have apparently ruled out a direct effect of hypoglycaemia (very low levels of sugar in the blood) as a cause of death in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Few of the patients taking part in the present study reported symptoms of low blood sugar levels or irregular heartbeats and they were only detected through continuous glucose monitoring and electrocardiograms used by Sheffield researchers which tracked blood glucose levels and heart rates over a week in a group of older patients with Type 2 diabetes and a history of cardiovascular disease.

The breakthrough research was conducted by Elaine Chow, a specialist registrar at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and the University of Sheffield under a 190K Biomedical Research Fellowship awarded by the National Institute for Health Research. The findings are being published in the May issue of Diabetes, the journal of the American Association of Diabetes.

Professor Simon Heller, Professor of Clinical Diabetes and Honorary Consultant Physician, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We don't want to alarm patients, but what we've found is potentially important in explaining a possible mechanism by which low overnight blood sugars lead to prolonged, slow heart rates that could disturb blood flow to the heart, causing life-threatening heart attacks.

"While we expected to find some low overnight blood sugars we were startled to find how extens
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Contact: Amy Pullan
a.l.pullan@sheffield.ac.uk
01-142-229-859
University of Sheffield
Source:Eurekalert

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