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Prediabetes heightens risk for cardiovascular, kidney disease

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People with prediabetes are not only at great risk for developing diabetes, they also face a substantial risk for cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease, according to research led by Dr. Mohammed Ali, associate professor of global health.

“Prediabetes is extremely common, and its prevalence is growing,” says Ali. “What we’ve seen through our analysis is that having high glucose levels is associated with a much higher risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and an increased risk of having a heart attack in the next 10 years.

“Additionally, more than 11 percent of people with prediabetes have some type of kidney dysfunction, which is an early predictor that in the next 10 to 15 years, they may need to go on dialysis or receive a kidney transplant,” Ali continues.

Research over the past several decades has shown a strong correlation between diabetes and both cardiovascular and kidney disease. Those years of research have driven practitioners around the country to focus on treating diabetes aggressively and comprehensively, which has led to substantial reductions in rates of heart disease in diabetic adults. Ali stresses the need for a similar approach when developing treatment plans for undiagnosed or prediabetic patients.

“Depending on what definition you use, as many as one in three American adults has prediabetes-level blood sugar levels,” says Ali. “Whether you’re a legislator or a leader of a large health system, our findings suggest that identifying this group is a huge opportunity for cardio-metabolic risk reduction. With a comprehensive approach—helping these patients improve their lifestyle choices, being more aggressive with efforts to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and helping these patients stop smoking—there’s a real opportunity to lower this group’s eventual morbidity and mortality risks.”

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"Prediabetes heightens risk for cardiovascular and chronic kidney disease" (Press Release, 2/28/18)

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