Managing glucose levels may not lower heart failure risk for diabetics

Tue, 13 Dec 2011
A study carried out by scientists in Glasgow has found that for people who have type 2 diabetes, close control of their glucose levels does not necessarily offer a reduction in their chances of heart failure. The research runs counter to the perceived wisdom of a link between HbA1c levels and heart failure.

The large-scale research, involving monitoring of data from over 37,000 patients, and published in the American Heart Journal, claimed that one of the types of drug treatment for managing glycaemia, thiazolidinediones, could also increase the risk.

Although the report does not claim the identify the lack of association, possible explanations are offered, such as treatment coming too late in the development of the disease and an insufficient duration of treatment or follow-up, as well as the off-target toxicity for some of the treatments. Instead, it is argued that hyperglycaemia may not directly lead to heart failure for diabetics, but rather provide a marker of some other risk factor.

Also, the eight studies assessed took place over a 13-year period, so diabetes management could have changed significantly over that time, and the team had no patient-level data that would help identify the relative benefits or otherwise of particular treatments.
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