Postprandial blood glucose as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in Type II diabetes: the epidemiological evidence

Diabetologia. 2001 Dec;44(12):2107-14. doi: 10.1007/s001250100020.


That cardiovascular disease occurs more frequently in patients with Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus has been recognized for a long time. However, the extent to which hyperglycaemia contributes to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease is still not clear. Epidemiological studies published in recent years suggest that postprandial blood glucose might be an independent risk factor of cardiovascular disease. The main results of these studies, which are reviewed in this article, are that subjects from the general population with mild to moderate hyperglycaemia, following oral glucose load, but not in the fasting state, showed an increased cardiovascular risk. Furthermore, the post-challenge as well as postprandial glucose concentrations of subjects with Type II diabetes were found to be directly associated to incident cardiovascular disease independently of fasting glucose. Also, the correction of fasting hyperglycaemia or HbA1 c or both, disregarding the specific correction of postprandial hyperglycaemia was not found to significantly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease in patients with Type II diabetes. Finally, the strict control of both preprandial and postprandial hyperglycaemia yielded a substantial reduction of cardiovascular disease in Type II diabetes. Trials specifically designed to address this issue are needed to determine whether postprandial hyperglycaemia plays an independent and causative role in cardiovascular disease in patients with Type II diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / etiology*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Humans
  • Postprandial Period / physiology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose