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Aggressive Blood Sugar Control Pays Off

Tight Blood Sugar Control Now Leads to Fewer Problems Later

Tight Blood Sugar Control Leads to Less Damage continued...

"I think some of the convergence is due to a withdrawal of the intensity with which we follow people up. In DCCT, people were provided with all their supplies, they got weekly phone calls, they got monthly visits. Now care has been turned over to others and that intensity of follow-up does not exist, and so I think we've seen a regression to the [average]," says Martin.

Despite the gradual loss of blood sugar control among those in the intensive therapy group, the investigators found that those patients were still 36% to 50% (depending on the test used) less likely to develop diabetic nerve damage. Similar protective benefits were seen for eye and kidney disease, Martin says.

Rury T. Holman, MD, professor of diabetic medicine at the University of Oxford in England, was not involved in the study but saw similar results among patients with type 2 diabetes as co-chair of the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS).

Holman tells WebMD that while the benefits of tight blood sugar control are well known, the durability of the effect comes as a surprise.

"What we see is the same as we saw in the type 2 patients in UKPDS, which is there seems to be a continued protection from risk," Holman says. "It probably takes a considerable amount of time for those benefits to be lost. What's interesting today is that they're still seeing it at seven and eight years."

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