People with higher blood sugar levels , particularly women, run a greater risk of developing heart disease according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology this month.
The study, which included over 4,000 men and women from the Framingham Heart Study, found that women with high fasting glucose levels are much more likely to develop heart disease, even if they do not have diabetes. In contrast, fasting glucose levels did not influence heart disease risk in non-diabetic men.
The researchers found that the odds of developing heart disease were 2.5 times greater for women with fasting glucose levels between 110 mg/dL and 125mg/dL compared to those with fasting glucose levels below 100mg/dL. Women with fasting glucose levels between 100 and 109 mg/dL had 40% increased odds of suffering heart disease however this was not statistically significant.
Fasting blood glucose levels above 125mg/dL indicate diabetes while glucose levels between 100mg/dL and 125mg/dL are high, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes to be made. An individual with a fasting blood glucose level between 100mg/dL and 125mg/dL is often referred to as having impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or “pre-diabetes” and they are likely to develop diabetes in the future without lifestyle and/or diet changes.
People with diabetes are known to be at a much greater risk of heart disease but until now it had been unknown whether people with fasting glucose levels that are above normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetic, were at a greater risk of heart disease.
According to Doctor John B. Buse: “If the fasting glucose test is elevated more than 100 milligrams per deciliter, it means that you are at risk of developing diabetes and you may have some excess risk of heart disease, particularly if you are a woman,” Buse is the director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of North Carolina and the president for medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
The ADA recommends that everyone over the age of 45 should get a fasting glucose reading in order to test for diabetes. Furthermore those under 45 who are overweight or have any other risk factors associated with diabetes should also be tested. According to Buse, the test should be repeated every three years.
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