Features August 2009 Issue

Intensive Blood Glucose Control May Lower Heart Disease Risk

Recent research underscores the importance of glycemic control in preventing cardiac events.

An aggressive approach to lowering your blood glucose level may reduce your risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease, a recent study confirms, but there are still concerns about medications that might lower it too much. An analysis of five studies involving more than 33,000 patients with diabetes was published in the May 23 issue of The Lancet. Researchers found that if you lower your hemoglobin A1c concentrations—a measure of blood glucose—by 0.9 percent over five years you reduce the heart attack risk by 17 percent. Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Curtis Rimmerman, MD, says blood glucose is too often overshadowed by the attention paid to hypertension and high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia). "Your blood glucose level is a top-tier risk factor for coronary heart disease, right up there with blood pressure and hyperlipidemia," Dr. Rimmerman says.

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