HealthDay News – For individuals without diabetes, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) is associated with accelerated progression of aortic stiffness, according to a study published online in Diabetes Care.

Carmel M. McEniery, PhD, from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the impact of adverse glucometabolic status on aortic stiffening in 4386 individuals without diabetes from the Whitehall II Study. Glucometabolic status and other cardiovascular risk factors were assessed at baseline (2008 to 2009). Carotid femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) was assessed at baseline and follow-up (2012 to 2013).

The researchers found that during 4 years of follow-up there was an increase in cfPWV, from a mean of 8.3 ± 0.03 to 8.98 ± 0.04 m/s. cfPWV at baseline correlated with fasting and 2-hour postload glucose, HbA1c, and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). After adjustment for physiological confounders and cardiovascular risk factors, HbA1c and HOMA-IR correlated with progression of cfPWV. 

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Greater increases in cfPWV were seen with a one-standard-deviation-higher HbA1c (0.11 m/s per 5 years) and HOMA-IR (0.09 m/s per 5 years). The correlation with HOMA-IR but not with HbA1c was weakened after additional adjustment for body mass index.

“These findings suggest that long-term glucometabolic status, even in individuals without diabetes, could be an important target for preventive strategies against vascular aging,” the authors wrote.

Disclosures: Two authors disclosed financial ties to Novo Nordisk.

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Mceniery CM, Wilkinson IB, Johansen NB, et al. Nondiabetic glucometabolic status and progression of aortic stiffness: the Whitehall II study [published online January 24, 2017]. Diabetes Care. doi:10.2337/dc16-1773