The sweet spot: fasting glucose, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in older adults with diabetes: a nationwide population-based study

Cardiovascular Diabetology. 2020;19(1):1-10 DOI 10.1186/s12933-020-01021-8


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Journal Title: Cardiovascular Diabetology

ISSN: 1475-2840 (Online)

Publisher: BMC

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Internal medicine: Specialties of internal medicine: Diseases of the circulatory (Cardiovascular) system

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, ePUB



Ji Hyun Lee (Cardiovascular Center, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital)

Kyungdo Han (Department of Medical Statistics, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea)

Ji Hye Huh (Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital)


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 7 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Abstract Background Growing evidences shows that fasting glucose target should be different according to their health condition in older adults with diabetes. However, there are limited data regarding the relationship between fasting glucose level and health outcomes in Korean older people with diabetes. We aimed to examine the association of fasting glucose with mortality and cardiovascular events in Korean older adults with type 2 diabetes. Methods From the Korean National Health Insurance System, 227,938 subjects (aged ≥ 65 years) with type 2 diabetes but no history of cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction or stroke) who underwent ≥ 2 health examinations from 2009 to 2010 and who were followed up until 2017 were identified. The primary exposure variable was the mean fasting glucose level. We estimated the relationship between the baseline fasting glucose level and incidences of all-cause death and cardiovascular events. Comorbidity load was assessed using the Charlson comorbidity index. Results Fasting glucose levels and all-cause mortality risk showed a J-shaped relationship regardless of sex and number of comorbidities. Fasting glucose levels associated with the lowest mortality and cardiovascular events were 110–124 and 95–124 mg/dL, respectively. Stratified analysis by comorbidity load using the Charlson comorbidity index revealed higher optimal fasting glucose levels for the lowest cardiovascular events in subjects with Charlson comorbidity index ≥ 3 than in those with Charlson comorbidity index ≤ 2 (119 vs. 112 mg/dL, P = 0.04). Conclusions J-shaped relationship existed between fasting glucose and all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events in Korean older adults with diabetes. We identified that fasting glucose levels associated with the lowest mortality and cardiovascular events were 110–124 and 95–124 mg/dL respectively. Increased risk of cardiovascular events with low fasting glucose level (< 95 mg/dL) was noted, especially in patients with high comorbidity. These findings suggested that less stringent targets of fasting glucose may be beneficial especially in older adults with multiple comorbidities.