Type-2 Diabetes

Previously, a number of observational clinical studies were performed to explore differences in the blood viscosity levels of type-2 diabetes. In an early clinical study comparing 16 diabetics with 16 age and gender-matched nondiabetic control subjects, mean blood viscosity at low shear rate was observed to be 26% higher in diabetics (p<0.001) [1]. A study of 38 male diabetics with and without retinopathy compared against 38 nondiabetics, matched for age and smoking habit, found low-shear blood viscosity levels were on average 13% higher in diabetics without retinopathy and 30% higher in those with retinopathy relative to control subjects [2]. These differences persisted after adjusting for hematocrit. A separate study of 64 diabetics and 61 matched nondiabetics reported similar results: elevated mean viscosity levels in diabetics compared with control subjects and the highest increases in diabetics with retinopathy or nephropathy [3].

Seven percent of the U.S. population, or approximately 21 million people, have diabetes, and according to the American Diabetes Association, more than 65% of those with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. Major research advances in type-2 diabetes are necessary to mitigate and ultimately arrest this widespread disease. Blood viscosity monitoring provides a unique biophysical tool for generating additional insights in the efficacy and safety of new therapies.

  1. Skovborg F, Nielsen AV, Schlichtkrull J, Ditzel J. Blood-viscosity in diabetic patients. Lancet 1966; 1(7429):129-31.
  2. Lowe GD, Lowe JM, Drummond MM, et al. Blood viscosity in young male diabetics with and without retinopathy. Diabetologia 1980; 18:359-63.
  3. Barnes AJ, Locke P, Scudder PR, Dormandy TL, Dormandy JA, Slack J. Is hyperviscosity a treatable component of diabetic microcirculatory disease? Lancet 1977; 2:789-91.