Early control of blood glucose in patients with type 1 diabetes is linked to a longer life than those without early control, research funded by the National Institutes of Health has shown. Results of this study are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The DCCT/EDIC study, started in 1983, enrolled 1,441 patients aged 13–39 with recent-onset type 1 diabetes. In the DCCT, half of the patients were randomized to intensive blood glucose control to maintain glucose levels as close to normal, and the other half were randomized to conventional treatment. In 1993, the DCCT stopped when data showed the intensive control group was found to have less eye, nerve, and kidney disease.
All study participants were trained intensive blood glucose and were followed during the ongoing EDIC. Among the DCCT/EDIC participants, there were 33% less deaths in the intensive control group compared to the conventional treatment group (43 vs. 64 deaths). Cardiovascular diseases attributed to majority of the deaths (22%), followed by cancer (20%), acute diabetes complications (18%) and accidents/suicide (17%).
Death from diabetic kidney disease was seen more in the conventional treatment group vs. intensive control group. Clinical markers such as higher average glucose levels and increased proteinuria were found to be major risk factors for death.
The recent findings further emphasize the importance of early blood glucose control, as this can reduce diabetes complications and lengthen lifespans.
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