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High Blood Sugar in Prediabetes is Even More Harmful Than We Realized

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Greater risk for young adults: We already know that having too much sugar in our blood is bad for our health. However, a new study uncovers previously undiscovered health risks associated with elevated blood sugar levels in prediabetes patients.

According to preliminary research, young adults with higher than normal blood sugar levels that signal prediabetes was more likely to be hospitalized for heart attack than their peers with normal blood sugar levels.

Prediabetes is defined as having blood sugar levels that are higher than usual, with fasting blood sugar levels ranging from 100 to 125 mg/dL, but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is a frequent condition that raises the chance of Type 2 diabetes.

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 88 million adults in the United States, or more than one-third of the population, have prediabetes. Prediabetes affects around 29 million persons aged 18 to 44.

“Prediabetes, if left untreated,” according to the study authors, “can significantly impact health and can progress to Type 2 diabetes, which is known to increase a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease.

“With heart attacks happening increasingly in young adults, our study was focused on defining the risk factors pertinent to this young population, so that future scientific guidelines and health policies may be better able to address cardiovascular disease risks in relation to prediabetes.”

Researchers examined patient health records from the National Inpatient Sample, the nation’s biggest publicly available database of hospitalizations.

The researchers looked at statistics from the year 2018 for heart attack-related hospitalizations among young adults aged 18 to 44.

According to the findings:

  • More than 31,000, or 0.4 percent, of the more than 7.8 million young adults hospitalized for heart attacks in 2018 had blood sugar levels that indicated prediabetes.
  • The risk of heart attack was 2.15 percent among those with prediabetes, compared to 0.3 percent among young adults with normal blood sugar levels.
  • Prediabetic adults were more likely than non-diabetic adults to have high cholesterol (68.1 percent vs. 47.3 percent, respectively) and obesity (48.9 percent vs. 25.7 percent , respectively).
  • Men of Black, Hispanic, or Asian/Pacific Islander race or ethnicity were more likely to be hospitalized for heart attacks as adults with prediabetes.
  • When compared to individuals with heart attacks who did not have prediabetes, adults with prediabetes were more likely to have higher household incomes, to be hospitalized in urban teaching hospitals, and to be hospitalized in the Midwest and West regions of the United States.

According to the study, “young adults with prediabetes had 1.7 times higher chances of being hospitalized for a heart attack compared to their peers without prediabetes.

“Despite having higher chances of having a heart attack, the young adults with prediabetes did not have higher incidences of other major adverse cardiovascular events, such as cardiac arrest or stroke.”

Image Credit: Getty

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