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Impaired glucose tolerance, even when not classified as diabetes, can increase the risk of heart disease for older adults, according to a new study.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the study looked at 58 older adults, half with normal glucose tolerance and half with post-challenge hyperglycemia (PCH), a form of "pre-diabetes" characterized by a temporary spike in blood sugar immediately after a meal.
The researchers found that the adults with PCH not only had higher glucose and insulin levels after the meal, but also registered higher levels of a number of individual risk factors for heart disease: triglycerides, CRP and a blood clotting factor. Blood vessel function was also impaired after the meal.
An estimated 7.5 to 11.1 million Americans over the age of 65 have impaired glucose tolerance, according to the researchers.
"In most cases, this mild form of high blood glucose causes no symptoms and is often overlooked by both doctors and patients, but studies have shown that it may be associated with increased risk of heart disease," says Dr Jill P. Crandall, lead researcher on the study.
The researchers note that routine screening of the elderly, using the glucose tolerance test, could be used to identify these high-risk individuals.
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