- Charles Sturt University researchers aim to reduce diabetics’ risk of cardiovascular disease
- The researchers are developing a blood viscosity test that is accessible, affordable and more accurate to determine the need (or not) for ‘blood thinners’
- This is made possible with the advent of information technology, including electronic medical records and mobile phones
Charles Sturt University researchers have good news for people with diabetes during National Diabetes Week 2021.
The National Diabetes Week (Sunday 11 to Sunday 18 July) awareness campaign’s emphasis is on emotional wellbeing and mental health of people living with diabetes, including anxiety, burnout and distress.
Researchers at Charles Sturt University hope to make life easier for people living with diabetes and reduce their stress by developing a self-management tool as a result of research studying blood viscosity.
Researcher and lecturer Dr Ezekiel Nwose (pictured, inset) in the Charles Sturt School of Dentistry and Medical Sciences and his colleagues said they hope to develop a clinical test for evidence-based cardiovascular medicine, especially for use in regional areas.
“Among the causes of anxiety and distress for the people affected are the hundreds of conscious and subconscious diabetes self-management decisions that need to be made daily,” Dr Nwose said.
“For example, one such decision, even by general practitioners (GPs), is the precautious decision whether ‘to take or not to take’ antiplatelet medication to prevent thrombotic cardiovascular disease.
“We are adopting a known idea of estimated whole blood viscosity (eWBV) to advance the use of routine laboratory tests and digital technology in assessing the benefit and/or need for antiplatelet medicine, that is, to help individuals decide whether ‘to take or not to take’ the drug.”
Dr Nwose explained that individuals living with diabetes are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and blood pooling or stasis is a cardiovascular phenomenon that is conventionally managed with antiplatelet drugs.
He said the desired effect of the drug is blood thinning and an antiplatelet drug is generally called a ‘blood thinner’. Another term for blood stasis is whole blood viscosity (WBV), which is also the name of the laboratory test.
“The use of this test at present is limited to a few big metropolitan cities where there may be the reference laboratory,” Dr Nwose said.
“The test is also limited by lack of clarity over sensitivity and specificity, as well as lack of awareness among general practitioners.
“Our study is establishing that eWBV is a not too sensitive but more specific test for cardiovascular phenomena, and how to use a combination of routine lab tests and digital technology to monitor such effectiveness.”
He said with the advent of information technology, including electronic medical records and cell phones, the routine lab results can be used to generate levels of eWBV to assess the need for and the response of antiplatelet therapy, as well as trends in relation to other cardiovascular phenomena.
Other benefits include affordability and accessibility and this eWBV method is potentially accessible and available anywhere and everywhere GPs can run routine lab tests.
“The eWBV test provides a valid option to assess antiplatelet drug contraindication as well as effectiveness that would see a reduction in the eWBV level,” he said.
“Hence, assessing the need for antiplatelet medication, or the risk of bleeding and monitoring the response of antiplatelet therapy, should be considered possible with specific and universally accessible eWBV method.”
Having achieved proof-of-concept and adoptability at health facilities in Albury and Orange in regional NSW, the researchers are disseminating their findings to key stakeholders, including through conference presentations, journal publications, and media.