Objective: The influence of postprandial blood glucose on diabetes complications is intensively debated. We aimed to evaluate the predictive role of both fasting and postprandial blood glucose on cardiovascular events in type 2 diabetes and the influence of gender.
Methods: In a population of 529 (284 men and 245 women) consecutive type 2 diabetic patients attending our diabetes clinic, we evaluated the relationships, corrected for cardiovascular risk factors and type of treatment, between cardiovascular events in a 5-yr follow-up and baseline values of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and blood glucose measured: 1) after an overnight fast, 2) after breakfast, 3) after lunch, and 4) before dinner. Continuous variables were categorized into tertiles.
Results: We recorded cardiovascular events in 77 subjects: 54 of 284 men (19%) and 23 of 245 women (9.4%). Univariate analysis indicated that cardiovascular events were associated with increasing age, longer diabetes duration, and higher HbA1c and fibrinogen in men, and higher systolic blood pressure, albumin excretion rate, HbA1c, and all blood glucose values in women. Smoking was more frequent in subjects with events. When all blood glucose values and HbA1c were introduced simultaneously in the models, only blood glucose after lunch predicted cardiovascular events, with hazard ratio of the third tertile vs. the first and the second tertiles greater in women (5.54; confidence interval, 1.45-21.20) than in men (2.12; confidence interval, 1.04-4.32; P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Postprandial, but not fasting, blood glucose is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular events in type 2 diabetes, with a stronger predictive power in women than in men, suggesting that more attention should be paid to postprandial hyperglycemia, particularly in women.