This diabetes number could predict death risk

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A recent study from the Universities of Gothenburg and Oxford suggests people who get type 2 diabetes need to gain control of their blood sugar levels—fast.

The years immediately after diagnosis are strikingly critical in terms of their future risk for heart attacks and death.

In the study, the team examined the significance of blood sugar levels from the time type 2 diabetes is diagnosed for the risk of heart attacks and death.

They used data from the UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS). Their analysis examined the role of blood sugar levels in the first years after type 2 diabetes was diagnosed for the prognosis of myocardial infarction and death 10 to 20 years later.

The team found that blood sugar levels early in the course of the condition have a much greater impact on the future prognosis than had been thought previously.

They found that targeting blood sugar levels according to treatment guidelines (HbA1c 52 mmol/mol or lower) from the time of diagnosis was linked to a 20% lower risk of death 10 to 15 years later.

In addition, it showed that delaying the introduction of good blood-sugar levels until 10 years after diagnosis was associated with only a 3% lower risk of death.

These results are evidence that proper early blood-sugar treatment in type 2 diabetes is crucial to optimize diabetes care.

They also mean that there is a need for a greater focus on detecting type 2 diabetes at the earliest opportunity to prevent people from living with undetected high blood sugar levels for several years.

These new results provide a mechanistic explanation for the glycemic ‘legacy effect,’ whereby instituting good blood-sugar control in newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetes was shown to reduce the risks of diabetic complications and death for up to 30 years.

The discovery of the ‘legacy effect’ has led treatment guidelines worldwide to recommend the need to achieve good blood-glucose control as soon as possible.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about new way to achieve type 2 diabetes remission, and vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about why diabetes strongly raises risk of severe COVID-19, and warning about widely used diabetes drug metformin.

The study was conducted by Professor Marcus Lind et al and published in Diabetes Care.

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