• Categories

  • Syndicate

  • Archives

Increased risk of cancer? Sweet! Ok, maybe not.

Posted by bmagnus On January - 11 - 2010

We’ve known for a long time that increased blood sugar from diabetes, something that being overweight greatly increases the risk of, is responsible for heart disease, blindness and various other end organ complications. Recently researchers have noticed another interesting connection to elevated blood sugar. Cancer.

A newly published study that followed a half million people for ten years shows that people with elevated blood sugar — not just diabetes, but metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetic conditions — are at higher risk for fatal cancer. Men were at increased risk for fatal cancer of the liver, gallbladder, respiratory tract, and rectum. Women, on the other hand, had increased risk for cancer of the pancreas, bladder, uterus, cervix, and stomach. In short:

Data from our study indicate that abnormal glucose metabolism, independent of BMI, is associated with an increased risk of cancer overall and at several cancer sites. Our data showed stronger associations among women than among men, and for fatal cancer compared to incident cancer.

It’s worth noting that last month the American Diabetes Association revised their clinical guidelines for the management and diagnosis of diabetes. They continue to recognize a “pre-diabetic” state but have renamed it “Categories of Increased Risk for Diabetes.” They define those as an hemoglobin A1c range of 5.7% to 6.4%, as well as impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance levels.

Hemoglobin A1c is a form of normal blood hemoglobin with sugar basically “stuck” to the molecule. Measuring this gives a rough estimate of the average of a persons blood sugar over the last 8 to 12 weeks. This is enormously valuable clinically since it helps physicians determine how well a diabetic is doing at home. This number is now becoming the standard of diagnosis of diabetes by the ADA since it’s much easier to measure than the older multi-hour glucose tolerance tests.

Comments are closed.