High Blood Sugar Levels a Major Killer

A new Harvard study claims that high blood-sugar levels are responsible for millions of deaths worldwide. In a summary of the report, published in this week’s issue of Lancet, researchers from Harvard’s School of Public Health say, “Higher-than-optimum blood glucose is a leading cause of cardiovascular mortality in most world regions. Programs for cardiovascular risk and diabetes management and control at the population level need to be more closely integrated.”

Although increased blood sugar can lead to diabetes, the new study shows that the condition is still potentially fatal even before it reaches the diabetes level. They attribute more than 3,000,000 deaths per year to the condition, which can lead to strokes and heart disease. In other words, high blood sugar is in the same league as smoking, obesity, and high cholesterol in terms of its potential for fatal outcomes.

Lead researcher Dr. Majid Ezzati said, “Blood glucose at all levels, even those below the threshold we call diabetes, is responsible for a very large number of cardiovascular deaths in the world, in fact, substantially larger than the number that directly die of diabetes.”

The researchers are calling for more public-health programs to increase awareness and highlight the risks involved. Diet and exercise are the two most important factors in controlling and reducing blood glucose levels. The team studied data from 52 countries and did a meta-analysis of 200,000 patients in the Asia-Pacific region to determine the relative risk of strokes and heart disease connected with high blood sugar.

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