Early Indicators of Complications in Diabetes

Universidad Nacional del Litoral - Escuela de Ciencias Médicas

July 01, 2013 | 4 ′ 50 ′′


Early Indicators of Complications in Diabetes


By means of a study of blood parameters, such as viscosity and other hemorreologic factors, researchers could relate them and through statistic models they could predict the risk of appearance of certain lesions in diabetic patients. Diabetes affects between 2 and 6 people of 100, and causes vascular complications which compromise the people’s life quality.

To know early alert signals is key to monitor the risk of a patient with diabetes mellitus type 2 to suffer lesions which compromise their life quality. To do that, researchers evaluated the predictive capacities of different parameters of the behavior of blood through statistic studies. In this way, they could associate the patient’s blood viscosity values (fibrinogenemia) with the probability to develop lesions in the retina and the skin in the future.

Hemorreology is the study of blood flux. We study the behavior of the blood in the blood vessel taking into account certain reologic properties. They have to do with the behavior of red corpuscles, how they decant when the circulation becomes slower, their influence in plasma viscosity, among other elements”, explained to Argentina Investiga Larisa Carrera, teacher and researcher of the School of Medical Sciences.

To evidence a statistically significant link between the hemorreologic characteristics and the development of lesions is clinically useful. “A diabetic patient who has these parameters compromised can be followed closely to make an early intervention”, remarked the specialist.

The work

The scientists selected two specific parameters to measure in the blood to evaluate if they had a significant link with retina and skin damages. So, they analyzed samples of diabetic patients with and without lesions to measure fibrinogenemia (blood viscosity) and erythrocyte aggregation (the way red corpuscles decant). “It is known that these parameters in diabetic people are compromised, -said Carrera-, which is not clear yet is the degree of relation of this kind of alteration in the development of clinical complications”.

Through different statistic models, the researchers were capable of evidencing the link which exists between the blood parameters and the risk of lesions. “These models point to the combination of different parameters which lead us to think that when they are compromised, the patient can develop lesions in the skin of retina in the short term”, she remarked. “They are not complex measurements, but they are not routine tests in patients with diabetes. In the case of fibrinogenemia, for example, it is a standardized technique which can be done in any laboratory”, she highlighted.

The disease

Between two and six people out of a hundred suffer from diabetes mellitus. It is a chronic metabolic alteration characterized by persistently high levels of glucose in the blood and caused by an alteration in the secretion or action of insulin. The main symptoms of diabetes mellitus are: the excessive emission of urine (polyuria), abnormal increase of the need to eat (polyphagia), increase of thirst (polydipsia) and loss of weight without apparent reason. This suffering causes diverse complications frequently damaging the eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels; its acute complications are a consequence of the inadequate control of the disease, whereas its chronic complications are the consequence of the progress of the disease.

Regarding circulation, the micro and macrovascular complications linked to this pathology compromise the life quality of the people affected. “In the retina, when the blood flux is affected, it can determine an obstruction at the level of small vessels and that causes the contribution of oxygen to the tissues and consequently, there appear really characteristic lesions”, stated Carrera.

At the same time, diabetes is associated to skin lesions, due to the compromise of circulation in little vessels, “especially in territories such as lower limbs”, she highlighted. The research project, framed in action Courses for research and development of the University has the advice and collaboration of researchers from the school of Medical Sciences of the Universidad Nacional del Litoral and the Universidad Nacional de Rosario, as well as with researchers from the School of Biochemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences of Rosario.


Priscila Fernández - Comunicación científica UNL


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