(HealthDay News) — Among individuals without diabetes, a higher level of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is associated with advanced coronary artery calcification (CAC) progression, according to research published online October 16 in Diabetes Care.

April P. Carson, PhD, MSPH, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues measured HbA1c and performed noncontrast computed tomography (CT) to evaluate CAC at baseline for 2,076 young adults. At five years, CT was repeated to assess CAC progression.

The researchers found that, after adjustment for sociodemographic factors, higher HbA1c was associated with incident CAC (risk ratio [RR], 1.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02–2.06), any CAC progression (RR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.16–1.96), and advanced CAC progression (RR, 2.42; 95% CI, 1.47–3.99). Following adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors, associations with HbA1c were attenuated for incident CAC (RR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.74–1.49) and any CAC progression (RR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.87–1.47). After multivariable adjustment, the association of HbA1c with advanced CAC progression persisted (RR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.08–2.95).

“Higher HbA1c was independently associated with advanced CAC progression among individuals without diabetes, while the associations with incident CAC and any CAC progression were accounted for by other established cardiovascular risk factors,” the authors write.

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