A new study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Diabetology, has found out that a common diabetes medication which is already available on the market may help patients recover from heart attacks.
Diabetic patients are at much higher risk of getting heart disease than those who do not have diabetes. More than 50% of all cases of fatalities are patients with heart disease. It is estimated that 8.3 percent of adults have diabetes, affecting 382 million all over the world, as a recent report of the International Diabetes Federation. This number is expected to increase to 592 million by 2035.
Scientists from Newcastle University, UK, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, UK, and King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia have made a significant step as exploring the potential benefit of crucial diabetes treatment metformin in hindering heart disease.
They discovered that metformin, a key treatment used for diabetic patients to prevent heart disease, is able to increase the physiological mechanism behind new blood vessel formation. This is inevitable for recovery from cardiovascular attacks among diabetic patients.
To conduct the research, the scientists used stem cells from cord blood and from umbilical cord to create a model imitating a heart attack in a lab.
The results showed that deficiency of oxygen in the existence of high glucose levels, as what appears during a heart attack in diabetes, hinders blood vessel formation while metformin reverses this process.
One more discovery is that metformin impacts on several new genes vital in promoting the development of new blood vessels.
“It is believed that our study is the first report describing the effect of the physiological concentration of metformin as seen in patients. Furthermore, our study concentrated on the time period vital during a heart attack when, with new therapy, we can help patients most,” said Dr. Jolanta Weaver, Senior Lecturer in Diabetes Medicine at Newcastle University, also lead study author.
“As a result, there is a demand for improved treatment approaches to enhance the outcomes of those with diabetes in order to increase heart attack survival rates,” she said in a press release.
However, not all diabetics are prescribed to use this drug, so a further exploration into new medications is highly awaited since a better understanding of the actions of the medication is now revealed. It is also hoped that future studies of metformin’s ability to help cardiovascular attack recovery will focus on patient clinical trials.