Extreme glucose levels in diabetic patients with heart failure linked to increase risk of deaths

Jul 20, 2009

Compared with patients with moderately controlled glucose levels, diabetic patients who have heart failure and either too high or too low glucose levels may be at increased risk of death, said researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in a report published in the current issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

To determine average in the blood over a two to three month period, doctors measure glycosylated hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in the blood that is bound to the ). In general, higher levels have been associated with increased risk of heart disease, said Dr. David Aguilar, assistant professor of medicine - cardiology at BCM.

"Most doctors try to keep glucose levels of those with diabetes as low as they can to lower the risk of complications such as eye problems, kidney disease or the development of heart disease," said Aguilar, senior author of the study. "However, we found that in diabetic patients with , glucose levels slightly higher than what are normally recommended had the lowest risk of death."

Researchers at BCM and the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston identified 5,815 veterans with heart failure and diabetes who were receiving treatment at VA medical centers across the nation. They followed the patients for two years, dividing them into five categories based on their glycosylated hemoglobin levels.

Most medical professionals recommend levels at 7 and below as the target for optimal health for diabetic patients. However, the results of the study of diabetic patients with heart failure showed that those with levels 7.1 to 7.8 had the lowest rate of death. Those patients at both ends of the spectrum had the higher death risks.

"This doesn't mean that diabetic patients with heart failure should change their target goal for glucose levels," Aguilar said. "The results could simply be telling us that the glycosylated hemoglobin levels are a marker for other risks that are contributing to increased risk of death, but not necessarily the cause of the problem."

Aguilar said the correlation needs to be further investigated to confirm the findings and see what other factors could be contributing to the mortality rate.

Source: Baylor College of Medicine (news : web)

Explore further: MSF fighting cholera outbreak in Tanzania refugee camps

Related Stories

30-year study shows benefits of glucose control

Sep 11, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- A large-scale, 30-year study by Oxford University has shown improved blood glucose control in type 2 diabetes leads to greater benefits in the longer term. The findings, to be published in the New England Jo ...

'Pre-diabetics' face heightened risk of heart disease

Mar 03, 2009

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, was led by Jill P. Crandall, M.D., associate professor of clinical medicine and director of the Diabetes Clinical Trials Unit at Einstein.

Recommended for you

Sierra Leone marks grim Ebola anniversary

55 minutes ago

On May 24 last year a pregnant woman and an older housewife staggered into Kenema hospital in eastern Sierra Leone and were diagnosed within a day as the country's first Ebola cases.

MSF fighting cholera outbreak in Tanzania refugee camps

20 hours ago

Medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) said Sunday it had launched emergency treatment centres in Tanzania, where thousands of Burundians fleeing unrest have been hit by cholera.

Bacteria blamed in indigenous Mexican baby deaths

May 23, 2015

Bacteria—and not a contaminated vaccine as initially suspected—were to blame for the recent deaths of two Mexican babies and for sickening 29 others, according to an official investigation.

Explainer: What is Chagas disease?

May 22, 2015

According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), in a Los Angeles clinic treating patients with heart failure, about 20% of Latin American patients have Chagas disease. What is that?, y ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.