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Association Between Hemoglobin A1c and Development of Cardiovascular Disease in Canadian Men and Women Without Diabetes at Baseline: A Population-Based Study of 608 474 Adults.

BACKGROUND: We examined the association between hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in men and women, without diabetes or CVD at baseline.

METHODS AND RESULTS: This retrospective cohort study included adults aged 40 to <80 years in Alberta, Canada. Men and women were divided into categories based on a random HbA1c during a 3-year enrollment period. The primary outcome of CVD hospitalization and secondary outcome of combined CVD hospitalization/mortality were examined during a 5-year follow-up period until March 31, 2021. A total of 608 474 individuals (55.2% women) were included. Compared with HbA1c 5.0% to 5.4%, men with HbA1c of 5.5% to 5.9% had an increased risk of CVD hospitalization (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.12 [95% CI, 1.07-1.19]) whereas women did not (aHR, 1.01 [95% CI, 0.95-1.08]). Men and women with HbA1c of 6.0% to 6.4% had a 38% and 17% higher risk and men and women with HbA1c ≥6.5% had a 79% and 51% higher risk of CVD hospitalization, respectively. In addition, HbA1c of 6.0% to 6.4% and HbA1c ≥6.5% were associated with a higher risk (14% and 41%, respectively) of CVD hospitalization/death in men, but HbA1c ≥6.5% was associated with a 24% higher risk only among women.

CONCLUSIONS: In both men and women, HbA1c ≥6.0% was associated with an increased risk of CVD and mortality outcomes. The association between CVD and HbA1c levels of 5.5% to 5.9%, considered to be in the "normal" range, highlights the importance of optimizing cardiovascular risk profiles at all levels of glycemia, especially in men.

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