Type 2 Diabetes – Do High Blood Sugar Levels Affect The Nerves Regulating Your Heart and Breathing?

Most people with Type 2 diabetes have heard about some of the serious complications that can result from years of high blood sugar levels. The autonomic nervous system is composed of nerves that regulate your heart function and breathing. Like other nerves in the body, the autonomic system can be damaged in a person with Type 2 diabetes when blood sugar levels are high for long periods.

According to researchers in the Graduate Program in Health Sciences/Cardiology, Heart Institute, Fundacao Universitaria de Cardiologia do Rio Grande do Sul, Port Alegre, Brazil, weakness of the muscles used for breathing can be associated with a pattern of heartbeats that shows poor nerve control. Results of their study were published in the journal Clinical Autonomic Research in October, 2010.

Normally your heart beats at an ever-changing rate, depending upon how fast your body needs the blood to be pumped. When we sleep our heart rates are lower than they are when we are awake, and our heart beats still faster when we are running. How well your heart rate changes in response to changing needs, is largely a function of the autonomic nervous system. Variability of heart rates in 24 Type 2 diabetics was measured along with lung function and chest muscle strength to gauge how the three measurements were related.

The participants were divided into those diabetics who had been:

  • diagnosed with autonomic nerve problems and
  • those who had not

The chest muscles were found to be:

  • weaker in those without a diagnosis of autonomic neuropathy, or nerve damage
  • the group without autonomic neuropathy had greater changes in their heart rates, as expected

Those with the strongest chest muscles had:

  • the greatest changes in heart rate and lowest resting heart rate
  • they also had Type 2 diabetes for the shortest amount of time

It was, therefore, concluded that chest muscles appeared to grow weaker with autonomic neuropathy.

Nerve damage likely leading to weakness in the chest muscles used for breathing and in the ability to breathe and regulate the heart as needed is a serious matter, to put it mildly. Type 2 diabetics have a high rate of heart disease, and this could be part of what causes so many heart attacks. Everyone with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes needs to work the chest muscles and heart on a regular basis. The best way of making your heart rate and breathing increase include:

  • walking
  • running
  • riding a bicycle
  • swimming, and
  • performing cardiovascular exercises prescribed by trainers and physical therapists

Everyone, diabetic or not, needs to get up and get at least two to three hours per week of physical activity that causes their heart to beat faster and their breathing to increase. When your body is working hard and burning calories, fat is taken out of fat cells, so working out will help to lower your blood sugar levels, and your weight, which in itself is an aid in preventing and controlling Type 2 diabetes.

Source by Beverleigh H Piepers

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