August 28, 2018 0 comments

A new strategy to prevent heart failure in diabetes

Cher-Rin

Did you know patients with diabetes are six times more likely to develop heart disease than those without diabetes? Now, promising research could change this statistic and improve the lives of those living with this debilitating condition.

Armed with an Early Career Fellowship from The Hospital Research Foundation and charitable affiliate Australian Heart Research (AHR), Dr Cher-Rin Chong is undertaking research looking to combat heart failure in diabetes, thanks to your support!

Currently, the most common problems encountered in patients with diabetes are related heart disease, including an increased risk for heart attacks, blood clots and heart failure. The reason for this is currently unclear and Dr Chong’s research is set to change this.

“My research will focus on one possibility that the diabetic heart ‘runs out of energy’ when processing carbohydrates as glucose. One possible cause of low energy level in a diabetic heart is the overactivation of a specific enzyme,” Dr Chong said.

“In addition, the heart is usually capable of using a different substance in the body to generate energy interchangeably. However, this ability is lost in the diabetic heart and it relies on fatty acids for the generation of energy, which can restrict oxygen supply.

“All these factors contribute to an increased risk of heart failure in diabetes.”

With this knowledge, Dr Chong is hoping to combat heart failure in diabetes by researching whether this enzyme activation is responsible for the damage of heart function in diabetes and exactly how it does so.

“I will then investigate whether stopping this enzyme, with a specific inhibitor can reverse the malfunction of a diabetic heart and stop it from running out of energy,” Dr Chong said.

“If my research proves to help the diabetic heart, the inhibitor could be used routinely to protect it, not only from the development of heart failure but also to reduce the impact of associated vessel disease on the function of the heart.”

Dr Chong is hopeful her research will decrease the risk of heart disease in diabetes, ultimately saving the lives of all Australians living with diabetes.

“This fellowship will provide me the opportunity to test out my theory, in the hope that it will be beneficial for patients suffering diabetes one day. I also hope by the end of this fellowship I am well-equipped to advance to the next stage of my career,” Dr Chong said.

“I am so thankful to have received funding from AHR and also thank their generous donors who have made it possible to receive this type of funding.”

You can donate towards life-saving research here. You will help beat heart disease!

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