Healthy Living

Dangers Of Undetected Diabetes

On its own, diabetes is already a life-threatening and devastating disease to go through. When you have the condition, it means that your blood glucose levels are way too high, leading to irreparable damage to your nerves, eyes and kidneys. It can also cause heart disease, stroke and may also lead to amputation of the lower extremities.

And while diabetes is already a big problem on its own, new research shows that undetected blood sugar disorders, such as in diabetes, is even deadlier, for it can increase the likelihood of periodontitis. A chronic condition that affects the gums and bones that support our teeth, data from the study showed that having diabetes increases the risk of developing it by three times.

The study also revealed that people who suffer from both diabetes and periodontitis are three times more likely to develop ischemic heart disease, compared to people who only have diabetes. Furthermore, the latest research states that dysglycemia — undetected conditions involving blood sugar — also have a connection to the gum disease and heart attack.

One risk leads to another

The study was led by Dr. Anna Norhammar, a cardiologist and associate professor at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Medicine in Solna, Sweden. Along with her colleagues, Norhammar used data taken from 805 participants who had experienced a heart attack and 805 participants who were healthy. Blood samples were then taken from the participants, and their blood sugar controls were examined.

After several more adjustments and tests, the findings revealed that the patients who went through a previous heart attack are more likely to have undetected dysglycemia.

"Undetected dysglycemia was independently associated to both [myocardial infarction] and severe [periodontitis]. In principal, it doubled the risk of a first [myocardial infarction] and of severe [periodontitis]," said the study authors.

However, the team believes that the research is still a bit limited, especially in terms of its sample size. Nevertheless, Norhammar advised that people should always check with their doctor.

“Many people visit the dentist regularly and maybe it's worth considering taking routine blood sugar tests in patients with severe periodontitis, to catch these patients,” she added.

Diabetes David Burns, 38, who has type 1 diabetes, prepares his insulin pen to inject himself in his home in North London on February 24, 2019. Health experts said "prediabetes" is not an actual disease or complication and that sudden elevated glucose levels does not always indicate the development of diabetes. Niklas Halle'n/AFP/Getty Images