In a study from Beijing Tiantan Hospital, scientists found that arterial stiffness was a better predictor of future risk of Type 2 diabetes than blood pressure.
They found people with a combination of high blood pressure and stiffer arteries had the highest risk of developing diabetes.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million people in the U.S. in 2019 had diabetes, of which, approximately 90-95% of them had Type 2 diabetes.
The prevalence of the condition in the U.S. continues to rise due to unhealthy lifestyles and the aging population. Type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and premature death.
Previous studies have found that hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.
Arterial stiffness, a common finding in people with high blood pressure, is also associated with insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
In the study, the team examined health data from 11,156 participants of the Kailuan study, an ongoing, prospective study of more than 100,000 adults aged 18 to 98 years in Tangshan, China.
The study began in 2006 and tracks adults at 11 hospitals in the Kailuan community.
Artery wall stiffness was calculated by using brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, a standard technique that uses a blood pressure cuff placed on a participant’s arm and ankle to measure the rate at which pressure waves move down the blood vessels.
In this study, participants were defined as having hypertension if their resting blood pressure was 140 mm Hg/90 mm Hg or greater.
The American Heart Association’s 2017 guideline considers people with blood pressure of 130 mm Hg/80 mm Hg or higher to have hypertension.
The analysis found that in comparison to the group with ideal vascular function, people with elevated arterial stiffness combined with high blood pressure had the highest risk of Type 2 diabetes.
People with normal blood pressure and stiffer arteries also had an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes as compared to the group with ideal vascular function.
Participants with high blood pressure and normal arterial stiffness had the lowest risk of Type 2 diabetes.
These results provide strong evidence that measuring arterial stiffness may be a better predictor than blood pressure in determining an individual’s future risk of Type 2 diabetes.
If you care about diabetes, please read studies that eating more eggs linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes, and how to reduce heart disease death risk if you have diabetes.
For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about high-protein diet linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes, and results showing Mediterranean diet could help reduce the diabetes risk by one third.
The study was conducted by Anxin Wang et al and published in Hypertension.
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