Raised blood-sugar levels add to risk of heart attack
A study carried out byCopenhagenUniversityHospitalhas found that blood sugar may even be as important a risk factor of heart-disease as cholesterol.
Researchers there suggest that not only diabetics should worry about the effects of high blood sugar on their hearts.
“We know that diabetics and people with high cholesterol levels are prone to ischaemic heart disease, but our study also made it possible to look at blood glucose level in isolation,” said lead scientist Dr Marianne Benn, from theCopenhagenhospital.
“It is surprising that even a slightly higher blood-glucose value appears to be dangerous over a longer period – and that sugar alone makes a negative difference.”
The research team analysed data from three, large, population-based studies, covering a group of 80,522 Danes.
They were able to show that slightly elevated blood sugar on its own was enough to pose a risk to the heart.
Healthy people without diabetes have a normal, fasting, blood-sugar level of fewer than 108 milligrams of glucose per litre of blood.
The study found that by raising blood sugar by just 18 milligrams above normal over many years, it increased the risk of having a heart attack by 69%.
Glucose may have a direct effect on heart-disease risk, which is still not understood, say the scientists. They recommend that general sugar intake should be limited to improve health.
Professor Borge Nordestgaard, from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at theUniversityofCopenhagen, said: “The World Health Organisation estimates that 6% of all deaths are through elevated blood glucose.
“Therefore, our results may, potentially, have great importance for the design of programmes to prevent worldwide heart disease and early death.”
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