APR 27, 2017 10:04 AM PDT

Sugar rush could be deadly with this heart condition

One out of every 2,000 people suffers from long QT syndrome, which can lead to heart failure. For these people, too much sugar may be dangerous, research shows.

“If you suffer from long QT intervals, you should be careful not to consume a lot of sugar at once. In fact, a medium-size soft drink is enough to cause the blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels further increasing the QT interval,” says Associate Professor Signe Sørensen Torekov from the department of biomedical sciences and the Metabolism Center at the University of Copenhagen.

“At worst, this can lead to disordered cardiac rhythm and heart failure.”

Eating sugary food normally causes the pancreas to produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone that lowers the blood sugar to a stable level again after we have consumed sugar. In a previous study the team has shown that the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas is regulated by potassium channels, among other things. When the potassium channels do not work, excessive amounts of insulin are produced and blood sugar drops to dangerously low levels. These potassium channels do not work properly in LQTS patients.

In the new study the researchers have shown that the potassium channel called hERG, in addition to being connected to the insulin level, is also connected to two other hormones, GLP-1 and GIP, which also overreact and signal to the body to produce even more insulin. At the same time, in LQTS patients the hormone responsible for protecting the body against low blood sugar levels is impaired.

“When a healthy individual experiences low blood sugar levels, the hormone glucagon reacts by signaling to the body to release more sugar into the blood. But the glucagon level in people suffering from LQTS is too low. This means that not only does the patient’s insulin level increase to twice the amount seen in healthy individuals, the hormone responsible for raising the blood sugar from a dangerously low level is equally impaired,” Torekov explains.

The research has resulted in some advice for LQTS patients: be careful not to consume too large amounts of sugar at once if you want to minimize the risk of low blood sugar and so further increasing your QT interval.

This article was originally published on futurity.org

About the Author
  • Futurity features the latest discoveries by scientists at top research universities in the US, UK, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The nonprofit site, which launched in 2009, is supported solely by its university partners (listed below) in an effort to share research news directly with the public.
You May Also Like
NOV 19, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
NOV 19, 2019
Experimental Cholesterol-Lowering Drug
A recent study shows that patients who take a maximum dose of statin drugs in addition to a twice-yearly injection of th ...
FEB 05, 2020
Cardiology
FEB 05, 2020
Protein-Rich Foods May Damage Heart Health
High-protein diets are becoming more and more popular as a method to both increase muscle mass and lose weight. Now howe ...
MAR 19, 2020
Cardiology
MAR 19, 2020
Gastric Band Helps Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke
New research has shown that having bariatric surgery, by means of having a gastric band placed around the stomach to res ...
APR 20, 2020
Cardiology
APR 20, 2020
Low Heart Rates in Men Linked to Criminal Behavior
Researchers have found that a low resting heart rate may be linked to criminal convictions, as well as medical treatment ...
APR 23, 2020
Health & Medicine
APR 23, 2020
Study Shows Filtered Coffee is Best for Your Health
Are you drinking more coffee than usual during the COVID-19 lockdown? Navigating weeks of working from home or onsite, a ...
MAY 04, 2020
Cardiology
MAY 04, 2020
Machine Learning May Help in the Diagnosis of Inherited High Cholesterol
Familial hypercholesterolemia, or FH, is an inherited genetic mutation in how the body recycles LDL cholesterol (bad cho ...
Loading Comments...