Non-Diabetics With High Blood Sugar May Face Increased Heart Disease Risk Interview with:
Dr Fiona Bragg
Clinical Research Fellow
Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit
Nuffield Department of Population Health
University of Oxford What is the background for this study?

Response: Diabetes is known to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is less clear, however, whether higher blood glucose levels in individuals without diabetes are also associated with higher risk for cardiovascular diseases. It is important to examine this association because it may help us to understand the mechanisms underlying these diseases as well as appropriate approaches to preventing them. We therefore looked at this association in the China Kadoorie Biobank study of 0.5 million Chinese adults, examining the relationship between blood glucose levels and the subsequent risk for cardiovascular diseases among participants with no history of diabetes at the time of recruitment to the study. What are the main findings?

Response: We found that the risk of all major cardiovascular diseases increased progressively with higher blood glucose levels, with no evidence of a threshold in the association. Each 1 mmol/L (18mg/dL) higher usual average blood glucose level was associated with an approximately 10% higher risk for ischaemic heart disease, ischaemic stroke and cardiovascular disease deaths, independent of other cardiovascular disease risk factors. There was a more modest association with haemorrhagic stroke. These associations remained after excluding participants who were found to have diabetes at the time of, or after, recruitment to the study. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Among Chinese adults without diabetes, higher blood glucose levels are associated with higher risks for major cardiovascular diseases, including ischaemic heart disease and stroke. These findings are likely generalisable to other populations, and they suggest the need for cardiovascular disease prevention measures at blood glucose levels below the diabetes threshold, as well as the potential value of population-level approaches aimed at lowering blood glucose levels. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: It remains unclear whether the association between blood glucose levels and cardiovascular disease is a direct association, or whether it is due to the association of higher blood glucose levels with other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Additional studies are needed to investigate this, since a causal association would suggest interventions to lower blood glucose levels may reduce cardiovascular disease risk in individuals without diabetes. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

Bragg F, Li L, Bennett D, et al. Association of Random Plasma Glucose Levels With the Risk for Cardiovascular Disease Among Chinese Adults Without Known Diabetes.JAMA Cardiol. Published online July 20, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2016.1702.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on

[wysija_form id=”5″]

Last Updated on July 21, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD