High risk for diabetes usually coincides with the high risk for heart disease, but not because of sugar – Innovita Research

High risk for diabetes usually coincides with the high risk for heart disease, but not because of sugar

It is a frightening thing to hear that you are at a high risk for diabetes. However, doctors around the world have to say that every day to thousands of people. This diagnosis comes with a whole lot of other issues, such as a high risk for heart disease. But why – is it the high sugar level or something else?

People at high risk of diabetes are typically 80 % more likely to develop a heart disease as well, but not because of high blood glucose levels. Image credit: David-i98 via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

It is actually not bad to hear that you’re at a high risk for diabetes. This means that you can avoid the disease if you stick to a well-calibrated health plan. This oftentimes includes losing weight, exercising, limiting the intake of carbohydrates. Being at a high risk for diabetes is a wake-up call, which you should listen to. But what about heart disease?

Scientists from the University of Glasgow looked at over 370,000 patients from the UK Biobank, paying attention to their average glucose levels. Scientists found that blood sugar is not to be blamed for the higher risk for heart disease. It is actually the same factors driving the risk for both diabetes and heart disease – obesity, higher blood pressure levels, abnormal lipids and even smoking. So yes, people who are at high risk for diabetes are 80 % more likely to develop heart disease, but this is not because of high glucose levels, but other factors, including age, blood pressure, smoking, lipid levels, and BMI.

This is more important than you may think. In essence, this means that high glucose levels are not responsible for the risk for heart disease. Actually, that may not even be a factor. Doctors should pay more attention to other health issues that may be driving the risk for heart disease up. Otherwise healthy person with high glucose levels may not be at higher risk for heart disease at all.

Professor Naveed Sattar, one of the authors of the study, said: “In those patients at high risk for diabetes, heart disease risk assessments should continue to be done by conventional methods, with comprehensive lifestyle advice given to address both risks”.

However, if you are at a high risk of diabetes, making particular lifestyle choices will make your heart stronger as well. Exercising is good for everyone, including overweight and fit, healthy and sick people. Dieting is a good idea too. It will help you lower both risks – for diabetes and heart disease.


Source: University of Glasgow