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High Blood Sugar in Diabetes Increases Premature Death Risk

A study shows that elevated blood sugar in people previously not diagnosed with diabetes increases the risk of premature death.

Dr. Naomi Brewer of Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand and her team analyzed data taken from 47,904 individuals with an average age of 38 years, who were offered hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) testing—a standard way of measuring blood sugar—during a screening program for hepatitis B in a region of New Zealand from 1999 to 2001. The mortality risks of study participants were examined up to the end of 2004. Results showed that there was an association between premature death and blood sugar levels.

During the median follow-up of 4.4 years, researchers found that 815 of these subjects had already died. The risk of death rose steadily from the HbA1c “reference category” (4.0 percent to less than 5.0 percent) to the highest HbA1c category (7.0 percent or higher).

Researchers said that there was a strong association between elevated blood sugar levels and death from endocrine, nutritional, metabolic, and immunity disorders. Elevated blood sugar level was also strongly associated with death from diseases of the circulatory system.

“It confirms previous findings that A1c levels are strongly associated with subsequent mortality in both men and women who have not been diagnosed with diabetes,” researchers said.

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