Did you or a family member have a stroke or a heart attack? Could they be an undiagnosed diabetic too?
Surprisingly, the answer may be yes and this is actually the second time this kind of information has arisen. It is well established that diabetes is a risk multiplier (up to four fold increased risk) for a heart attack. This editor thinks that every heart attack patient who doesn’t already carry a diabetes diagnosis should be tested for impaired glucose tolerance (pre-diabetes) and diabetes.
New research revealed at the International Stroke Conference of the AHA showed that roughly a third of people who are stroke survivors have undiagnosed prediabetes. This research was based on a national survey by Dr. Amytis Towfighi and found overall that 32.3% of people who had survived a stroke were actually undiagnosed prediabetics. This is very very important as diabetes is a stroke and heart attack risk multiplier. Since hospitals are now facing economic impacts from short term recidivism and suffering a stroke with prediabetes as an undiagnosed risk multiplier may actually amplify the risk of a recurrent stroke. This may clearly argue for fastign blood sugars and hemoglobin A1Cs for stroke and heart attack victims to identify and control this potent risk factor for future problems.
What does this mean for you and your family? KNOW YOUR RISK factors! If you or a loved one has had a heart attack or stroke, make sure they have been tested for sugar problems (impaired glucose tolerance or IGT and diabetes using a hemoglobin A1C and glucose tolerance or fasting blood sugar testing). Not knowing about hidden or undiagnosed diabetes makes you or a loved one a ticking time bomb for these serious heart and brain problems. Beyond this, undiagnosed diabetes amplifies the risk for another stroke or heart attack because it is tough on the blood vessels.
Remember, powerful patients identify risk factors and lower them.