Normal blood sugar does not mean that the individual has no diabetes.
Even if they are otherwise healthy and have normal fasting blood sugar levels, some men appear to be at risk of type 2 diabetes, a new study indicates.
A 12-year study of male soldiers in the Israeli army suggests that blood sugar levels in the higher end of what is considered normal may predict the likelihood of type 2 diabetes, particularly for men with weight and blood fat issues.
“Higher fasting plasma glucose levels within the (normal) range constitute an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes among young men,” writes Dr. Amir Tirosh, lead author of the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Such levels may help, along with body-mass index and triglyceride levels, to identify apparently healthy men at increased risk for diabetes.”
Fasting blood sugar levels are a common measure investigators use to help diagnose diabetics, whereby the amount of sugar in a person’s blood is assessed following an overnight fast.
Between 1992 and 2004, researchers tracked more than 13,000 male soldiers who at that time had fasting blood sugar levels of less than 100 mg per decilitre (5.55 mmol per litre), which is considered normal.
During the 12 years, 208 cases of type 2 diabetes occurred.
“Increased levels of normal fasting plasma glucose were more strongly associated with diabetes among overweight and obese men,” the authors note.
“The trend of increased risk appeared to be similar among subgroups classified according to triglyceride levels and family-history status.”
Researchers say these results point to the importance of looking at what constitutes “normal” blood sugar readings in a broader context.
“Differences in sex, ethnic background, age and a multiplicity of other factors may determine what is “normal,” writes Dr. Ronald Arky, in an editorial accompanying the article.
Therefore, when patients with ostensibly “normal” blood sugar readings ask the doctor about their readings, Arky encourages a response such as, “Yes, your glucose level is normal, but let’s do something about that weight and your sedentary lifestyle.”

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