Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

For Diabetes: BP, Cholesterol Key v. Heart Disease

Diabetes & Heart Disease Risk: Results

"People who had all three risk factors under control or only blood pressure and LDL under control were about three times less likely to be hospitalized," he says.

Most likely to be hospitalized were those who had none of the risk factors under control or only blood sugar under control, Nichols says.

However, on average, both those hospitalized and those not had the same average blood sugar level, 7.3%.

The link between poor blood pressure and cholesterol control and heart attack or stroke held, Nichols says, even after taking into account pre-existing disease and other factors that might play a role.

The study shows that ''we just didn't see any additional benefit to getting it below 7," says Nichols of the blood sugar.

"To me the take-home message is yes, diabetes is defined by high blood sugar. But that is not the only thing you need to pay attention to."

Diabetes & Heart Disease Risk: Perspective

''We are clearly doing better [in reducing heart attack and stroke] by taking care of blood pressure and cholesterol," says Robert Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association.

"They have huge impacts on survival and cardiac events," he says, citing research. "That doesn't mean glucose isn't important."

The protective effects of blood sugar control on heart disease take longer to kick in, according to Ratner, ''and probably aren't as apparent as blood pressure and cholesterol [effects]."

Controlling all three risks is important, he says. "If you begin to ignore one, it's going to start having a deleterious effect on cardiovascular disease risk."

"It's a large study, and that is a strength," says Om Ganda, MD, director of the Lipid Clinic at Joslin Diabetes Center and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

But he says that the other diseases in the patients studied ''make it impossible to detect the effects of blood sugar control."

''The glucose [control] effect is very slow, compared to cholesterol and blood pressure," Ganda agrees.

To him, the findings stress the importance of early diagnosis, when blood sugar can be addressed right away.

"Once you have established cardiovascular disease or once you have diabetes for a fairly long duration,'' he says,"indeed, glucose control may not be as important as in the early stages of diabetes."

Funding was provided by AstraZeneca, which makes cholesterol-lowering medicine, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, which makes blood pressure-lowering medicine.

Two study co-authors are AstraZeneca employees and shareholders. Nichols controlled the data.

1|2

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article