Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Heart function impairment possible in adolescents with Type 2 diabetes

  • Comment

Heart function may be affected in people with Type 2 diabetes as early as adolescence, according to a new study.

“Past studies in adults with Type 2 diabetes show that their heart and blood vessels’ ability to adapt to exercise may be impaired. Our study shows that these changes in heart function may begin to happen very early after Type 2 diabetes occurs,” said the study’s lead author, Teresa Pinto, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Dalhousie University IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The researchers studied how the heart and blood vessels of 13 teenagers with Type 2 diabetes adapted to exercise, compared with 27 overweight or obese subjects who did not have diabetes and 19 nondiabetic and nonobese control subjects.

All subjects performed an exercise test on a stationary bicycle designed for use in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. With MRI, images were taken of each subject’s heart and femoral artery, a large blood vessel in the leg that supplies the leg with blood. MRI took place while the subjects were at rest and during or immediately after exercise on the cycle.

The images of the heart showed that the hearts of subjects with Type 2 diabetes did not expand and fill up with blood between heart beats as well as the hearts of subjects in the other two groups. This occurred during exercise only, the authors found. With exercise, the amount of blood pumped out with each heart beat (the cardiac output) was normal in all three groups, although still lower in the diabetic group.

“We showed that the heart’s pumping function is strong, but it is not filling as well as normal between heart beats. This is known as diastolic dysfunction,” Pinto said. “Although this study did not determine the reason for this, we know that with diabetes, the heart can become stiffer, limiting its ability to stretch and expand.”

In addition, images of the femoral artery showed that the flow of blood through the artery was significantly less in the diabetic group during exercise compared with the other two groups.

“It appears that irrespective of weight, Type 2 diabetes seems to have a negative effect on the heart and blood vessels in adolescents,” Pinto said. “This impaired exercise capacity may be reversible with exercise training however, as some literature in adults suggests, but further studies are required to determine this.”

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs