Demystifying the Complications of Diabetes
The cost of treating a person with diabetes is more than twice that of treating the average patient. The bulk of this additional cost stems from the complications of diabetes, such as those that affect the heart, eyes, kidneys and blood vessels.
While keeping blood sugar levels low can help prevent vascular complications (that is, complications that affect the blood vessels), it can be difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar levels.
Dr. Pedro Geraldes, Canada Research Chair in Vascular Complication of Diabetes, is exploring the effects of glucose and lipids on the functioning of the vascular cells that make up the tissues affected by diabetes—namely, the kidney, eyes, heart and lower limbs. He is trying to understand how diabetes reduces the actions of factors (like insulin) that are essential to the functioning of vascular cells. Geraldes and his team are seeking to explain the mechanisms that prevent the actions of insulin (and nephrin, in the case of epithelial cells of the kidney).
They are also trying to solve the mystery of why diabetics are unable to form new vessels after blood supply to the lower limbs has been blocked. In addition, they are seeking new drug targets to address the fatty plaques that form more rapidly in the arteries of diabetics.
This research will provide greater insight into the mechanisms behind vascular complications among diabetics. It could also lead to new treatments to prevent or even reverse diabetes-related vascular disease.