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Lancet. 2006 Nov 11;368(9548):1651-9.

Global and regional mortality from ischaemic heart disease and stroke attributable to higher-than-optimum blood glucose concentration: comparative risk assessment.

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Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Cardiovascular mortality risk increases continuously with blood glucose, from concentrations well below conventional thresholds used to define diabetes. We aimed to quantify population-level effects of all higher-than-optimum concentrations of blood glucose on mortality from ischaemic heart disease and stroke worldwide.


We used population distribution of fasting plasma glucose to measure exposure to higher-than-optimum blood glucose. We collated exposure data in 52 countries from individual-level records in population health surveys, systematic reviews, and data provided by investigators. Relative risks for ischaemic heart disease and stroke mortality were from a meta-analysis of more than 200,000 participants in the Asia-Pacific region, with adjustment for other cardiovascular risk factors.


In addition to 959,000 deaths directly assigned to diabetes, 1 490,000 deaths from ischaemic heart disease and 709,000 from stroke were attributable to high blood glucose, accounting for 21% and 13% of all deaths from these conditions. 1.8 million of these 2.2 million cardiovascular deaths (84%) were in low-and-middle-income countries (1,224,000 for ischaemic heart disease, 623,000 for stroke). 792,000 (53%) of deaths from ischaemic heart disease and 345,000 (49%) from stroke that were attributable to high blood glucose were in men. Largest numbers of deaths attributable to this risk factor from ischaemic heart disease were in low-and-middle-income countries of South Asia (548,000) and Europe and Central Asia (313,000), and from stroke in South Asia (215,000) and East Asia and Pacific (190,000).


Higher-than-optimum blood glucose is a leading cause of cardiovascular mortality in most world regions. Programmes for cardiovascular risk and diabetes management and control at the population level need to be more closely integrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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