Higher Blood Sugar Linked to Heart Disease

We know that our customers are concerned about their blood sugar levels. Working to keep blood sugar levels healthy can be hard. Reminders about why it’s essential can reinforce a person’s effort to work toward their goal!

New research has linked high blood sugar levels to heart disease. A study found that men and women who have raised blood sugar have a 30 to 50 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Even people on the higher end of the normal range were slightly more at risk. While people on the low end of the normal range were 10 percent less likely to develop a CVD — including heart attacks or strokes.  

The researchers were looking at people’s blood glucose levels. Dr. Gill Jenkins, an advisor to the Tea Advisory Panel, said, “Glucose is a sugar that you get either directly from food and drink, through digestion of carbohydrate-containing foods, or through other metabolic processes in the body.”

She said that blood sugar fluctuates through the day with what a person eats and drinks and falls during fasting periods. “Blood glucose levels can also change with exercise, state of hydration, and with physical or mental stress, and certain medications,” she said. “Even in people without [blood sugar concerns], major illnesses, hormonal disorders or certain medications such as steroids and some antidepressants, can cause blood sugar fluctuations.”

She stressed that it’s important to eat a healthy diet, get movement into your day and take medications exactly as prescribed while talking to your doctor about your medical goals.

The research was carried out by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Univ. College London. They concluded that when it comes to heart health, blood sugar levels are a case of “the lower, the better.”

Their study used data from 427,435 people in the UK. The participants were 54.2 percent women and 45.8 percent men. Their blood sugar health status ranged from people with no concerns at all to those with daily blood sugar concerns. When they eliminated variables like age and medications, the researchers saw no difference in the health risk to men and women — both had equal heart health risks from high blood sugar.  

Lead author Dr. Christopher Rentsch from LSHTM said that the team “uncovered compelling evidence that within the ‘normal’ blood sugar range, a lower level appears to be better for protecting against heart disease.”

They also concluded that more people should quit smoking and speak to their doctors about starting statins. They found that men are given statins more frequently than women. A “prescribing gap” made it appear that women were at a higher risk of CVDs. But it might be that they just aren’t getting the medications they might need.

Senior author Prof. Krishnan Bhaskaran from LSHTM said, “Our results suggest that the increased risks seen in both men and women could be mitigated through modifiable factors, including weight reduction strategies and greater use of antihypertensive and statin medications. This is an important new insight that should help guide future public health strategies.”

Speaking to your doctor about your blood sugar and heart health are great steps toward ensuring you are taking care of your overall health and protecting yourself against future problems. This research helps shed light on the connection between blood sugar and heart health. Hopefully, it will help lead to new breakthroughs in medicine!

Banner image: Jesse Orrico via Unsplash

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