Prediabetes may increase heart attack risk, new study finds in young adults

A team of researchers has found that prediabetes in young adults may be linked to a higher risk of heart attack. The study was led by Akhil Jain, a physician at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Darby, USA, and was presented at a 2022 American Heart Association Scientific Session.

When the condition of prediabetes exists

The American Heart Association statement explains that the condition of prediabetes exists when the blood sugar level is higher than it should be and the fasting blood sugar level is between 100 and 125mg/dL. These levels are not high enough to diagnose type 2 diabetes, but they are not at normal levels either.
According to the statement, prediabetes is quite common and, of course, it increases the risk of later progression to type 2 diabetes. In the United States alone (the article cites the National Institutes of Health as a source), 88 million adults aged 18 or older have prediabetes.

The study: using data from a large database

The new study used data from a large US hospital admissions database called the National Inpatient Sample. The researchers found that in young adults with prediabetes, the incidence of heart attacks was 2.5%, compared to an incidence of 0.3% in young adults with normal blood sugar levels.
They also found that adults with prediabetes were more likely (compared to their peers without prediabetes) to have higher cholesterol and be obese.
Jain explains that various factors that could influence the results were taken into account, but despite this, young adults with prediabetes were 1.7 times more likely to be hospitalized for a heart attack than their peers without prediabetes.

Pre-diabetes can be reversed

Prediabetes, the statement explains, can be reversed and this disease can therefore be considered a “red flag”, as Eduardo Sanchez, one of the leaders of the American Heart Association, calls it. Among the elements that can counter prediabetes are physical activity and weight loss. Of course, quitting smoking if this factor also exists can also be of great help.

Stress reduction can also have an impact

Finally, Sanchez explains that reducing stress can also have an impact and make a difference. In any case, according to the researchers, this study can be considered an important basis for future research aimed at understanding the prevalence of heart disease in young adults with prediabetes, also because it is a very common condition that affects up to one-third of adults in the United States.

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