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Didn't Know How High Blood Sugar Damages Blood Vessels? Now You Will

How High Blood Sugar Damages Blood Vessels
Elevated glucose level reduces the amount of nitric oxide in the vessels, which further leads to narrowing of the blood vessels. Prolonged presence of high sugar may even cause permanent damage to the vessels.
Niharika Arya
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Did you know?
At least 65 percent of people with diabetes die from some form of heart disease or stroke.
Your body gets oxygen, minerals, and other nutrients through the blood which circulates in the body, via blood vessels. These vessels include arteries, small blood capillaries, and veins. When we eat food, it is broken down into simpler form. The minerals, oxygen, glucose, and other substances are then carried by the blood to different parts of the body. Glucose is one of the most important substances, as it is the source of energy. Insulin is produced by the body to absorb glucose. If under any circumstances, the body is unable to produce the required amount of insulin, the glucose content in the blood increases, which may further cause diabetes. The increased amount of sugar in the blood starts damaging various parts of the body, including the blood vessels.
How Does High Blood Sugar Damage Blood Vessels
Blood vessel
When the blood flows through the blood vessels, they expand or relax. Blood vessels possess this property because of the presence of nitric oxide, which facilitates proper and smooth flow of the blood in the body. But, when there is an increase in the amount of blood sugar, it affects the blood vessels and causes several complications.
A research team, headed by Dr. Rita C. Tostes of the Medical College of Georgia, School of Medicine, found evidence supporting the fact that high glucose damages blood vessels. In this research, they explained that most of the sugar or glucose in the blood is sent to the cells for the production of ATP, which is an energy source. The remaining 5% form other components which includes O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) molecules. These molecules are monosaccharides which are derived from glucose. O-GlcNAc molecules modify proteins and form a process which competes with the phosphorylation process. The process of phosphorylation helps in the production of nitric oxide, which as we know, helps the blood vessels to relax. So, when the glucose increases in the blood, more amount of O-GlcNAc molecules are formed, which further hinders the phosphorylation process. This results in the reduction of nitric oxide molecules, which eventually causes narrowing of the blood vessels. Due to high blood sugar, the vessels will remain contracted which will ultimately make the vessels hard and passage difficult, permanently.
Pain in heart
One more probable reason behind the damaging of blood vessels is the higher fat content in the blood which is caused due to high sugar levels. The fat gets accumulated in the blood vessels and restricts the flow of the blood. Poor circulation may lead to many dangerous conditions like heart attack, stroke, etc. In extreme cases, these conditions can even be fatal.
Normal blood sugar level of a healthy person ranges between 70 and 125 mg/dl. High blood sugar is considered very unhealthy for the body, hence it is very important to keep the sugar levels under control. Keep a regular track on your blood sugar levels. To get it under control, follow your doctor's advice, quit smoking immediately, exercise daily, and follow a healthy diet.