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Tight Glucose Control Cuts Heart Disease by Half in Diabetic Patients

 
  January, 6 2006 20:22
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Intensive glucose control lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke by about 50 percent in people with type 1 diabetes, researchers report in the December 22, 2005, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Their findings are based on a follow-up study of patients who took part more than a decade ago in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), a major clinical study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“We see a greater reduction in cardiovascular events from intensive blood glucose control than from drugs that lower blood pressure and cholesterol,” said Saul Genuth, M.D, of Case Western University. Genuth chairs the follow-up study of DCCT participants, called the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) study, which is examining the long-term effects of prior intensive versus conventional blood glucose control. “The benefits of intensive control strongly reinforce the message that this therapy should begin as early as possible and be maintained as long as possible.”

“The risk of heart disease is about 10 times higher in people with type 1 diabetes than in people without diabetes,” added David Nathan, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital, who co-chairs the study. “Maintaining tight control is difficult, but its advantages are huge. Intensive glucose control significantly reduces heart disease as well as damage to the eyes, nerves, and kidneys of people with type 1 diabetes. The longer we follow patients, the more we’re impressed by the lasting benefits of tight control.”


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