Blood Glucose Levels do not Predict Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Preventive measures are vital in reducing health care costs and death rates. One of the best ways to prevent diseases is to monitor risk factors. For years, researchers have tied higher glucose levels to a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which suggests that measuring patient's sugar levels could help predict CVD risk. However, according to a new study, this measurement added to conventional factors, such as smoking and cholesterol does not improve the accuracy of predicting one's risk of CVD.
The research team headed by Emanuele Di Angelantonio, MD from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom examined 294,998 adults. The participants came from 73 studies and did not have a known history of diabetes or CVD. The researchers set out to determine if adding information about glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), which is a measurement of longer-term blood sugar control, could help doctors better predict their patients' risk of CVD.
Angelantonio and colleagues from the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration categorized the effectiveness of conducting a 10-year risk prediction of CVD into three levels, which were low at less than five percent, intermediate from five to less than 7.5 percent and high at over 7.5 percent.
The researchers concluded that adding HbA1c information to help predict one's 10-year risk of CVD only slightly improved risk discrimination. Risk discrimination separated those who have a higher risk of CVD from those who do not. Overall, HbA1c was not effective in boosting the accuracy of probability predictors for people with or without CVD.
"Contrary to recommendations in some guidelines, the current analysis of individual-participant data in almost 300,000 people without known diabetes and CVD at baseline indicates that measurement of HbA1c is not associated with clinically meaningful improvement in assessment of CVD risk," the authors wrote.
The study was published in JAMA.