Blood Glucose Levels During Acute Illness Can Help Predict Future Diabetes Risk, Study


Blood glucose levels measured in hospitalized patients during acute illness can be used to predict the risk of developing type-2 diabetes in the following three years, according to a new study by the University of Edinburgh.

For the study, the researchers measured blood glucose levels of 86,634 patients, aged 40 years or older, who were admitted for an acute illness between 2004 and 2008 in Scotland. They followed these patients up to December 2011 to determine their type-2 diabetes risk.

The researchers said that type-2 diabetes risk for patients with a glucose level of less than 5 mmol/l (90 mg/dl) was 1 percent and the number increased to approximately 15 percent among those with a glucose of 15 mmol/l (270 mg/dl) or more. Plus, the risk of developing diabetes increased with increasing blood glucose levels during admission.  

Based on the findings, the researchers developed a risk calculator that uses the patient's age, sex, and admission blood glucose level to predict risk of developing diabetes over 3 years following hospital admission. However, the risk calculator has not yet been tested in non-white populations or populations outside of Scotland.

"These findings can be used to inform individual patients of their long-term risk of type 2 diabetes and to offer lifestyle advice as appropriate," the researchers said in a press release.

The finding is published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

A recent study presented at the 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) found that a sweetener found in tequila could lower blood glucose levels among patients suffering from type-2 diabetes. Plus, the sweetener created from the Agave plant could help diabetics and the obese lose weight.

The researchers said that agavins, a natural form of sugar found in the agave plant, are non-digestible and can act as a dietary fiber. As a result, they do not trigger high blood glucose levels. Agavins are considered to be best sugars to help support growth of healthful microbes in the mouth and intestines.

"We have found that since agavins reduce glucose levels and increase GLP-1, they also increase the amount of insulin," said Researcher Mercedes G. López in a press release. "Agavins are not expensive and they have no known side effects, except for those few people who cannot tolerate them."

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