Certain Type 2 diabetes drugs, known as thiazolidinediones (TZDs), are recognized as having the extra benefit of lowering blood pressure. Recent research seems to have come up with an explanation for why this is.
The research has shown that the molecule peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor Ó (PPARÓ) “stands at the crossroads of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and is the target of TZDs.” This location allows TZDs to effect both Type 2 diabetes metabolic function, and blood pressure related to cardiovascular function.
Because of the strong link between diabetes and commonly high blood pressure conditions such as obesity, diabetics often have high blood pressure to deal with as well.
“The incidence of obesity and diabetes and their cardiovascular consequences has reached epidemic proportions, justifying the enormous effort to identify pathways and molecules involved in their pathogenesis,” says Dr. Curt Sigmund, a researcher on the subject.
The connection between TZDs and cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, is still poorly understood, and at present it seems that TZDs do not directly lower the risk of these events, and may in fact raise the risk. A separate study suggested that “the risk of adverse cardiovascular events, including heart attack and death, may actually rise in patients taking the TZD.”
More research needs to be done on TZDs and the mechanisms guiding the PPARÓ, but the dual observed effect on type 2 diabetics of both insulin regulation and blood pressure lowering from TZD use is very promising.
Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Genova, Cathleen. Cell Press Release. “New insight into blood pressure control may explain diabetes drugs’ side benefit.” March 2008.