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Ideal sugar level to prevent strokes, heart attacks

2021 Oct 01, 8:15, Washington

A new study has found that for people with diabetes who have a stroke, there may be an ideal target blood sugar range to lower the risk of different types of vascular diseases like a stroke or heart attack later on.

The findings of the research were published in the medical journal 'Neurology'.

"We know that having diabetes may be associated with an increased risk of having a first stroke," said study author Moon-Ku Han, MD, PhD, of Seoul National University College of Medicine in Korea.

"But our results indicate that there is an optimal blood sugar level that may start to minimise the risk of having another stroke, a heart attack, or other vascular problems, and it's right in the 6.8 percent to 7.0 percent range," Han added.

The study involved 18,567 people with diabetes with an average age of 70. All participants were admitted to the hospital for an ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot. Upon admission, researchers used a test called the hemoglobin A1C to determine people's average blood sugar level over the past two to three months.

This test measures a percentage of hemoglobin proteins in the blood coated with sugar. A level below 5.7 percent is considered normal; 6.5 percent or higher generally indicates diabetes. The participants had an average A1C of 7.5 percent.

Researchers then followed up one year later to find out if there was an association between A1C levels with the risk of having another stroke, a heart attack, or dying from these or other vascular causes.

Of all participants, 1,437, or about 8 percent, had a heart attack or died from the vascular disease within a year of starting the study, and 954, or 5 percent, had another stroke.

The study found that people admitted to the hospital with A1C levels above the 6.8 percent to 7.0 percent range had an increased risk of having a vascular event like a heart attack, as well as having another stroke.

After adjusting for factors like age and sex, researchers found that people's risk for a heart attack or similar vascular diseases was 27 percent greater when they were admitted to the hospital with A1C levels above 7.0 percent, compared to those admitted with A1C levels below 6.5 percent.

People's risk for having another stroke was 28 percent greater when admitted to the hospital with A1C levels above 7.0 percent, compared to those below 6.5 percent.

"Our findings highlight the importance of keeping a close eye on your blood sugar if you're diabetic and have had a stroke," Han said.

A limitation of the study is that people's blood sugar levels were measured only at the start of the study; no follow-up levels were available. 


Blood Sugar vascular diseases Strokes Heart Attacks study Neurology health
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