'Pre-diabetes' raises risk of heart attack, stroke


A set of conditions known to accompany or portend type 2 diabetes, including obesity and high blood sugar, could more than double a person's risk of developing heart disease, according to a new study.Further, the findings suggest that these factors can even work their negative influence in the absence of full-blown diabetes.

"We are in the midst of an obesity epidemic that is contributing to an increase in the number of people with the metabolic syndrome in North America," senior researcher Dr. Mark Eisenberg of McGill University, in Montreal, noted in an email to Reuters Health. "Thus, an increasingly large number of people are at a high cardiovascular risk."

About a quarter of North Americans are affected by the metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of at least three of the following cardiovascular risk factors: obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.

Many people with the metabolic syndrome have, or are on their way to developing, type 2 diabetes.

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