Congenital heart disease could cause low blood sugar


A new study from the University of Copenhagen suggests that congenital arrhythmia – abnormal heartbeat – could be influenced by the body's ability to handle sugar.

The results may be important for the future treatment of diabetes, researchers wrote in the journal Diabetes.

Insulin doubles

The study, which included 14 patients with congenital heart disease and 28 healthy control subjects, found that people with congenital arrhythmia produce twice the amount of insulin after they consume sugar. A few hours after eating something sweet, the patients' blood sugar decreases drastically, too.

"We show that patients with a particular kind of congenital arrhythmia become hypoglycemic after meals," said assistant professor Signe Torekov, Department of Biomedical Sciences and The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at University of Copenhagen. "This further increases their risk of heart failure. For that reason, the patients have to pay attention, for example by changing diet and lowering the meal size to avoid low blood sugar levels."


Low blood sugar can cause symptoms like cramps, fatigue, irritability, anger, and even blackouts or heart failure. Results of the study indicate that patients with heart disease might experience these symptoms of hypoglycemia – which doctors tend to attribute to the arrhythmia.

"The feelings of discomfort were also caused by their blood sugar being too low," Torekov concluded. "With our discovery we can connect a specific potassium-ion channel to blood sugar levels, and this could benefit the diabetes patients of the future, because we will be able to gather more knowledge on the bodies' sugar metabolism."

Source: University of Copenhagen


The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information. Social


Diabetes Poll

Are you currently using oral medication to help control your diabetes?:
Total votes: 1110