New research shows that even slightly higher levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood noticeably increase the risk of ischemic heart disease. The study involves more than 80,000 people and has just been published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
It is not only people with diabetes who risk heart-related problems resulting from lifelong elevated blood glucose levels. New research from the University of Copenhagen shows that even a slightly elevated level of blood glucose in non-diabetic people results in a conspicuously greater risk of ischemic heart disease.
The researchers were surprised that even a slightly higher blood glucose value appears to be dangerous over a longer period.
Healthy people without diabetes have a normal, fasting blood glucose value of less than 6 moll/L (=108 mg/dl). However, the study showed that over many years a blood glucose value of only 1 mmol/L (=18 mg/dl) above normal increases the risk of heart attack by 69 per cent.
The researchers were able to show in a group of 80,522 Danes drawn from the general population that a slightly elevated level of blood glucose is enough on its own to damage the heart.
The scientists believe that glucose impacts the risk of ischemic heart disease directly, but are still unsure why. However, they recommend that the general intake of sugar should be limited for the benefit of health worldwide.
The World Health Organization estimates that 6 per cent of all deaths are due to elevated blood glucose. Heart attacks, atherosclerosis and angina - also known as ischemic heart disease - are the most common cause of death among adults worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, 17 million people die each year from heart-related diseases - a number that is expected to rise in the years ahead.
Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, June 2012
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