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New research from the American Heart Association (AHA) has found a potential link between prediabetes and heart attacks.
The cardiovascular health nonprofit published a news release about its “preliminary” findings on Monday, May 16, and noted that a full paper will be published in a peer-reviewed journal in the near future.
“Prediabetes, if left untreated, can significantly impact health and can progress to Type 2 diabetes, which is known to increase a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Akhil Jain, an AHA researcher and resident physician at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Darby, Pennsylvania.
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Jain said in the news release that the AHA “focused on defining the risk factors” for young adults, “so that future scientific guidelines and health policies may be better able to address cardiovascular disease risks in relation to prediabetes.”
The AHA analyzed health records from the National Inpatient Sample – a public hospitalization database. Researchers reportedly found that 7.8 million heart attack hospitalizations from 2018 were related to young adults between the ages of 18 and 44.
Prediabetic young adults, who are defined as having blood sugar levels that “are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes,” are 1.7 times more likely to be hospitalized for a heart attack compared to their non-prediabetic peers, according to the AHA’s research.
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The inpatient hospital records the AHA analyzed also found that 68.1% of prediabetic young adult patients has high cholesterol and 48.9% were considered to be obese. There was no observable “higher incidence” of cardiac arrest or stroke, however.
Black, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander men who were considered prediabetic and within the young adult age range were “more likely to be” hospitalized for heart attacks, according to the AHA.
The AHA reported that around 88 million American adults are prediabetic, and an estimated 29 million are under the age of 45.
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Prediabetes and heart attack risks can typically be lowered with “lifestyle changes,” including weight loss and exercise, according to the AHA.
In a statement, Jain said it’s “essential to raise awareness” about prediabetes screenings and health checkups for young adults because it can help “prevent or delay” the development of Type 2 diabetes, heart attack and other associated cardiovascular events.
“Our study should be considered as a foundation for future research to clearly establish heart disease burden in young adults with prediabetes, given the prevalence of prediabetes of nearly one-third of adults in the U.S.,” he said.
Fox News Digital previously shared 10 foods that nutrition experts recommend for supported heart health, which include avocados, whole grains and beans. To read the full list, click here: These are the best foods for your heart, experts say.