Sudden Death Risk Before Diabetes

Prediabetic and diabetic men may have increased risk of sudden cardiac death

December 29, 2012 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

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(dailyRx News) Diabetes can increase your risk for all sorts of health issues, including heart problems. According to recent research, people could be faced with the most severe of these problems even before diabetes sets in.

Results showed that men with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes had a higher risk of sudden cardiac death (death from heart-related causes soon after symptoms start), compared to men with normal blood sugar levels.

As blood sugar levels increased, so too did the risk of sudden cardiac death. In addition, both pre-diabetes and diabetes were associated with death from all causes.

"Control your blood sugar."

The study was conducted by Jari A. Laukkanen, MD, PhD, of the University of Eastern Finland, and colleagues. The researchers wanted to see if pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes were risk factors for sudden cardiac death.

Pre-diabetes, or impaired fasting plasma glucose, is a condition in which blood sugar levels are high but not quite high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

Dr. Laukkanen and colleagues found men with pre-diabetes were 1.51 times more likely to suffer sudden cardiac death than men with normal blood sugar.

Men with diabetes had an even higher risk; these patients were 2.86 times more likely to suffer sudden cardiac death than those with normal blood sugar.

Patients with either diabetes or pre-diabetes also had a higher risk of sudden cardiac death out of the hospital. The risk of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac death was 1.79 times higher for men with pre-diabetes and 2.26 times higher for men with diabetes, compared to men with normal blood sugar.

The researchers also found that every 1 mmol/L increase in fasting blood sugar levels was linked to a 10 percent increase in the risk of sudden cardiac death.

These findings highlight the importance of blood sugar control in diabetes. If blood sugar levels rise, patients may be faced with some serious complications, including death. By properly managing blood sugar, patients can prevent such complications.

The study included 2,641 middle-aged men. Pre-diabetes was defined as a fasting blood sugar level of 5.6 mmol/L or more. Diabetes patients were being treated with oral drugs, insulin therapy and/or diet.

Over the course of 19 years, there was a total of 190 sudden cardiac deaths.

The study was published December 17 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.