Increasing insulin dose to manage diabetes is unlikely to deteriorate your heart's health, suggests new research. Insulin is not an independent risk factor for cardiovascular death, the findings showed.
"Insulin is a very important medication for patients with diabetes and everyone really wanted to know if insulin could be harmful at higher doses," said lead study investigator Elias Siraj, professor of medicine at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US.
"Our initial un-adjusted analysis showed that an increase in insulin dose by one unit/kg of body weight increased the risk of cardiovascular death by 83 to 236 percent. But, we had to adjust the data for various medical conditions and other factors potentially associated with insulin use," Siraj said.
After appropriate statistical adjustment, the dose of insulin was found not to be associated with increased cardiovascular death. For the study, researchers analysed data from a clinical trial entitled Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD study).
"This is reassuring for many physicians and their patients. But, our findings would not lay to rest the on-going discussion about insulin use and the potential for increased risk, especially at higher doses. There are still unanswered questions and more studies are needed to answer them definitively," Siraj pointed out.
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Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, non-traumatic amputations, and a major contributor to cardiovascular disease and death.
The findings were detailed in the journal Diabetes Care.