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High Blood Sugar Linked to Mortality Rates Even in Non-Diabetics

Posted Oct 02 2008 3:12pm

The evidence continues to mount against foods that sweets and culprit carbs (white rice, white bread, most processed crackers, etc.), which, of course raise your blood sugar levels.

Groundbreaking research from Centre for Public Health Research at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand reveals that elevated blood sugar levels in people without diabetes have a greater likelihood of dying early. In fact, as people's blood sugar levels increased, so did their risk of premature death.

What's so intriguing about these findings -- which appeared in the June issue of Diabetes Care -- is that only a few studies have looked at the connection between blood sugar levels of people who did not have diabetes and their subsequent mortality risks.

Dr. Naomi Brewer of Massey University and her colleagues point out that elevated blood sugar levels are associated with a greater risk of death from a number of causes, including endocrine and metabolic and immunity disorders, as well as diseases of the circulatory system . In addition, the researchers found weaker associations between increasing blood sugar and deaths from cancer and other unknown causes.

A total of 47,904 individuals who did not have diabetes and who had an average age of 38 years, had their blood sugar measured using a hemoglobin A1C test, which gives you an average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months. A total of 815 of the subjects died during the median followup of 4.4 years.

This is the largest study conducted to date of A1C levels, according to the researchers. (The A1C test was given to people without diabetes as part of a screening program for hepatitis B in a region of New Zealand from 1999 to 2001. Mortality risk was examined to the end of 2004 in these subjects.)

This study, the researchers conclude, "confirms previous findings that A1C levels are strongly associated with subsequent mortality in both men and women without a prior diabetes diagnosis."

Thanks to Reuters for the lead on this important study.

Jennifer Moore contributed to this post for the SUGAR SHOCK! Blog.

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