Control blood sugar to lower chance of death from heart failure

Heart failure patients may be less likely to be hospitalised or die prematurely if they don't also have diabetes.

Even if they have it, they can minimise their risk by controlling their blood sugar, a study suggests.

Researchers studied nearly 49,000 patients with heart failure, one of the most common reasons older adults go to the hospital.

Over the course of the study, about 26,000 of these patients, or 53 per cent, died.

Patients were 24 per cent more likely to die during the study when they also had type 2 diabetes, which is tied to ageing and obesity. It happens when the body can't properly use insulin to convert sugar, or glucose, into energy.

With diabetes, heart failure patients were also 29 per cent more likely to have their first hospitalisation during the study period, researchers reported in JACC: Heart Failure.

"Both low and high levels of blood glucose were associated with high risk of hospital admission and death, but well-controlled blood sugar levels were associated with a much lower risk," said lead study author Claire Lawson of the University of Keele in the UK.

"While diabetes and heart failure are a lethal combination, controlling blood sugar levels within a target range and keeping them stable over time can virtually remove the additional risk associated with the diabetes," she added. - REUTERS