Young adults with higher than normal blood sugar levels that signal prediabetes were more likely to be hospitalised for heart attack compared to their peers with normal blood sugar levels, according to a research. Having prediabetes means that one's blood sugar levels are higher than normal, with fasting blood sugar between 100 to 125 mg/dL, although not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is common and increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The study found that young adults with prediabetes had 1.7 times higher chances of being hospitalised for a heart attack compared to their peers without prediabetes. "Prediabetes, if left untreated, can significantly impact health and can progress to Type 2 diabetes, which is known to increase a person's risk for cardiovascular disease," said Akhil Jain, a resident physician at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in the US.
"With heart attacks happening increasingly in young adults, our study was focused on defining the risk factors pertinent to this young population, so that future scientific guidelines and health policies may be better able to address cardiovascular disease risks in relation to prediabetes," he added. The findings were presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2022. Researchers reviewed patient health records from the year 2018 for heart attack-related hospitalisations among young adults, ages 18 to 44 years old. The analysis found that of the more than 7.8 million young adults hospitalised for heart attack, more than 31,000 had blood sugar levels correlating to prediabetes. Among those with prediabetes, the incidence of heart attack was 2.15 per cent compared to 0.3 per cent in young adults with normal blood sugar levels.
Adults with prediabetes were also more likely than their peers without prediabetes to have high cholesterol and obesity. However, "despite having higher chances of having a heart attack, the young adults with prediabetes did not have higher incidences of other major adverse cardiovascular events, such as cardiac arrest or stroke," Jain said. While prediabetes is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes and other serious health complications, it can be reversed. Many of the steps taken to prevent prediabetes are the same steps to prevent heart disease. Eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking, cutting down on stress, being physically active and losing weight, if needed, are all meaningful ways to reverse a prediabetes diagnosis.