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Findings explain higher risk of heart attack in people with diabetes, even after treatment.

Tray of fizzy drinks

High levels of glucose in the blood ‘reprogrammes’ stem cells, leading to a lasting increase in the risk of developing dangerous atherosclerosis, according to research funded by the British Heart Foundation published today in Circulation.

University of Oxford researchers found that high blood glucose, a hallmark of diabetes, alters stem cells in the bone marrow that go on to become white blood cells called macrophages. As a result, these macrophages become inflammatory and contribute to the development of atherosclerotic plaques that can cause heart attacks.

This finding explains why people with diabetes are at increased risk of heart attack, even after their blood glucose levels are brought back under control, a paradox that has troubled doctors for years.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website.

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