"[Blood glucose] control gets worse over time. In the early stages, people tend to make rapid improvements and then it stays the same for a while. Adding exercise later might provide another boost in control whereas it wouldn't early on," Andrews said.
The study results were slated to be reported June 24 at a symposium run by the ADA and The Lancet at the ADA's Scientific Sessions meeting in San Diego.
A second study to be presented at the symposium found that intensive treatment of type 2 diabetes led to a slight reduction in cardiovascular disease risk factors.
For that study, nearly half a million people in Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were screened for diabetes. The 3,057 people who were found to have the disease were assigned to receive either intensive treatment or routine care.
Intensive treatment included lifestyle changes (quitting smoking, healthier eating, more physical activity), aspirin treatment, and intensive medication treatment for blood pressure, blood sugar and lipids (blood fats). Those assigned to routine care were instructed to use national guidelines for advice on lifestyle and medical treatment.
Patients in the intensive treatment group showed clinically significant reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol and small decreases in weight and blood sugar levels maintained over a five-year period. The differences were greatest in the reducing the risk of heart attack and smallest in reducing the risk of stroke.
There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups in rates of heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular deaths or revascularization, according to the news release.
Experts noted that research presented at medical meetings is considered preliminary because it has not been subjected to the rigorous scrutiny required for publication in a medical journal.
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