A major new discovery has shown that a small protein provides the link between the body’s control of blood sugar and blood pressure — a key breakthrough for diabetics, says Dr. Miriam Stoppard
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The mystery was eventually solved by an international team led by the Universities of Bristol here in the UK and Auckland in New Zealand.
People with high blood pressure and/or diabetes are at high risk for life-threatening cardiovascular diseases. Even during treatment, a large number of patients remain at high risk.
Because most medications only treat the symptoms and not the causes of high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.
Professor Julian Paton of Auckland University, also a senior author, said: “We have known for a long time that hypertension and diabetes are inextricably linked and have finally discovered the reason that will now inform new treatment strategies.”
The important new discovery has shown that a small protein (GLP-1) couples the body’s control of both blood sugar and blood pressure. The research included contributions from collaborating scientists from Brazil, Germany, Lithuania and Serbia, as well as from the UK and New Zealand.
We knew that GLP-1 is released from the gut wall after eating and triggers insulin from the pancreas to control blood sugar levels. Recent research shows that GLP-1 also stimulates a small sensory organ called the carotid body in the neck.
Professor Paton added: “The carotid body is the point of convergence where GLP-1 acts to simultaneously control both blood glucose and blood pressure.”
Professor Rod Jackson, a world-renowned epidemiologist from the University of Auckland, added: “We know that blood pressure is notoriously difficult to control in patients with high blood sugar, so these results are really important because by giving GLP-1 we can we may be reducing both sugar and pressure together, and these two factors are major contributors to cardiovascular risk.”
Audrys Pauza, a PhD student at Bristol Medical School and lead author of the study, said: “The prevalence of diabetes and hypertension is increasing worldwide and there is an urgent need to address it.
“Drugs targeting the GLP-1 receptor are already approved for use in humans and are commonly used to treat diabetes.
“In addition to lowering blood sugar, these drugs also lower blood pressure, but the mechanism of this effect was not well understood.
“Now we need research to show that the same drugs can also lower blood pressure so people at high risk can get tailored treatment.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/vital-blood-sugar-breakthrough-could-26603925 "Breakthrough of Vital Blood Sugar Could Help Diabetics" - Miriam Stoppard