Low Blood Sugar Levels May Pose Heart Risks for Diabetics, Review Suggests07/31/13
WEDNESDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Type 2 diabetes patients
with dangerously low blood sugar levels may be at increased risk
for cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.
Given their findings, "less stringent glycemic targets may be
considered for type 2 diabetic patients at high risk of
hypoglycemia (severely low blood sugar)," the researchers said.
A dangerously low blood sugar level often is classified as a
medical emergency. Previous observational studies have reported a
link between severe hypoglycemia and cardiovascular disease risk,
but the association remains controversial.
In this study, researchers from the United States, Japan and the
Netherlands analyzed the findings of six studies that included a
total of more than 903,000 type 2 diabetes patients.
The review revealed that 0.6 percent to 5.8 percent of patients
developed severe hypoglycemia during one to five years of
follow-up. Overall, these patients had a 1.56 percent increased
risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to the study,
which was published July 30 in the online journal
The results suggest that severe hypoglycemia is associated with
a two-fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the
Because of this, preventing severe hypoglycemia in people with
type 2 diabetes may be important to prevent cardiovascular disease,
the researchers said in a journal news release.
The link between severe hypoglycemia and increased
cardiovascular disease risk has previously been explained by
patients having one or more other serious illnesses, but this is an
unlikely explanation, the researchers said.
They said the incidence of serious illnesses would need to be
"unrealistically high" among patients who developed severe
hypoglycemia, and the link between serious illnesses and
cardiovascular disease would have to be "extremely strong."
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases has more about
diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
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