Previous research has linked strict low blood sugar control with an increased mortality rate and with negative consequences on cardiovascular health as well. In the recent findings, published in Diabetes, the researchers further explored the effects of low blood sugar – hypoglycemia – on cardiovascular autonomic control, which is a system that influences the heart’s function. What they found during their experimental model of low blood sugar was a change in the responses to cardiovascular stress.
Ajay D. Rao, M.D., first author, said, “These findings suggest a specific way as to how the cardiovascular system is compromised during episodes of hypoglycemia.”
Hypoglycemia is the result of low blood sugar. It can commonly occur in diabetics who inject insulin to reduce their blood sugar when it is too high. It is also very common in individuals who take pills for their diabetes, which causes the body to produce more insulin.
Volunteers were exposed to experimental hypoglycemia and then subjected to specialized testing of the cardiovascular system prior to and at the end of the experimental hypoglycemia period. Dr. Rao and his team were able to show that during hypoglycemia there were very clear changes in response to cardiovascular stress, including rises in blood pressure and heart rate.