June 15, 2005
Study Confirms that Intensive
Treatment of Diabetic Patients Significantly Reduces
Yet Another Proven Benefit of Tight Glucose Control
for Those With Type 1 Diabetes
(Philadelphia, PA) - New study results confirm, for
the first time, that intensive treatment of diabetic
patients results in a significantly lower risk of heart
disease. In fact, it can cut the risk of cardiovascular
disease nearly in half. Researchers say this is yet
another proven benefit of the long-term effects of tight
glucose control in patients with type 1 diabetes.
The new finding was announced on Sunday at the annual
scientific meeting of the American Diabetes Association.
The results stem from studying cardiovascular events
in patients who took part in the Diabetes Control and
Complications Trial (DCCT) and a follow-up NIH study.
The original DCCT results reported in 1993 showed a
50-60 percent reduction in eye, kidney, and nerve disease.
Now researchers also know this treatment helps reduce
severe cardiovascular events.
“This is exciting news for those coping with diabetes.
This intensive treatment of glucose control could allow
them to live longer with less suffering,” said
Stanley Schwartz, MD, the principal
investigator on the DCCT follow-up study, called the
Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications
(EDIC). Schwartz is also the Director of Diabetes Disease
Management for the University of Pennsylvania
Health System. “The EDIC study examined
the long-term effects of an average of 6.5 years of
conventional insulin treatment versus intensive insulin
Schwartz adds that before, with conventional treatments,
the patient would receive 1-2 shots of insulin a day
and occasional office visits and standard dietary reminders.
In intensive treatment, patients are given 3-4 shots
of insulin a day, frequent dietary reminders, monthly
doctor's appointments, and psychological support.
In results announced last Sunday, the ADA says among
the more than 1,300 volunteers continuing to participate
in the DCCT/EDIC study (which is a remarkable 93% of
the original volunteer base), the intensively treated
patients had a 57% reduction in the number of serious
cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes
-- compared to the conventionally treated group.
According to the ADA, the risk of heart disease is about
10 times higher in people with type 1 diabetes than
in people without diabetes. About 18.2 million people
in the United States have diabetes, the most common
cause of blindness, kidney failure, and amputations
in adults and a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
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