Diabetes Possibly Responsible for High Oxidative Stress Levels in Heart Patients

High oxidative stress levels, often thought by doctors to be a characteristic of patients with coronary heart disease, may in some cases be caused by the existence of type 2 diabetes in these same patients. This may help diagnose previously undiagnosed diabetes, or help better treat conditions that coronary heart disease patients are dealing with.

High oxidative stress levels, which are caused by the bodies inability to reduce reactive oxygen, results in free radicals that often cause cell damage. While high oxidative stress has been associated with a variety of diseases, such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, it’s perhaps most often tied to heart disease. The consumption of antioxidants to combat these oxidative stress levels and resulting diseases is a topic of much debate in the medical community.

Since high oxidative stress levels are common for coronary heart disease patients, doctors commonly assume when measuring oxidative stress in their patients, that when the level is high, it is simply a bi-product of the heart condition. According to this recent study though, that conclusion is often made hastily, and in fact the high oxidative stress is sometimes a result of type 2 diabetes.

By taking blood samples of individuals with only coronary heart disease, with type 2 diabetes, with both conditions, and healthy subjects. The results showed that oxidative stress levels were significantly lower in patients with only coronary heart disease than those heart disease patients that also had type 2 diabetes.

This finding suggests that high oxidative stress levels could be representative of underlying diabetic issues. “Our findings suggest the observed associations of increased oxidative stress in individuals with heart disease may be dependent on underlying abnormalities in glucose metabolism” says lead researcher Dr. Savario Stranges. Since past studies have shown a clear connection between diabetes and heart disease, doctors should now be aware of a wider range of possibilities in explaining high oxidative stress levels in their heart disease patients.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Stranges, Savario. Parkes-Harrison, Kelly. Diabetes Care news release. July 2008.