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Intensive Control of Type 1 Diabetes Helps Kidneys: Study
Date:11/13/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

SATURDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- People with type 1 diabetes who maintain tighter control of their blood sugar levels help protect their kidneys from long-term damage, finds a new study.

Those treated early with more intensive diabetes management halved their risk of a kidney complication called impaired glomerular filtration rate (GFR), the researchers said. An impaired GFR can lead to end-stage renal disease, the most serious kidney complication associated with diabetes.

"Our study shows that impaired GFR can be prevented in type 1 diabetes. This kidney complication that leads to end-stage renal disease doesn't have to happen," said the study's lead author, Dr. Ian de Boer, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Results of the study are scheduled to be presented Saturday at the American Society of Nephrology's annual meeting in Philadelphia and published online simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, including sugar.

Because their insulin-producing cells have been destroyed, people with type 1 diabetes must inject insulin to survive. If they use too little insulin, they'll have high blood sugar levels, which puts them at risk of long-term complications. But, too much insulin increases the risk of low blood sugar levels, which can be life-threatening.

Kidney disease is a potential long-term complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar levels cause "cell level toxicity and death that results in the loss of the filtering units in the kidney that are replaced with scar tissue," explained de Boer.

He and his colleagues reviewed data
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