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Tight Blood Sugar Control May Put Some Diabetics at Risk
Date:3/3/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- Intensive blood sugar control doesn't benefit people with both type 2 diabetes and heart disease -- and it may harm them, researchers say.

Trying to maintain the blood sugar levels typical of people without diabetes can increase the risk of death for people with type 2 diabetes and heart disease by 19 percent, according to the latest analysis from the long-running ACCORD study.

"This study reports that at least over the five-year period of time, although there continued to be a reduction in the rate of [heart attack], a significant increase in mortality still exists," said the study's lead author, Dr. Hertzel C. Gerstein, the Population Research Health Institute Chair in Diabetes Research at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.

ACCORD stands for Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes. This study was designed to assess whether intensive blood sugar interventions to bring A1C levels to under 6 percent would benefit people with type 2 diabetes and heart disease. A1C is a long-term measure of blood sugar control, and the A1C level provides about two to three months of average blood sugar levels. A level of under 6 percent, which is considered normal or non-diabetic, can be difficult for someone with diabetes to achieve.

The people recruited for the ACCORD study were between 40 and 79 years old, and their A1C levels were above 7.5 percent at the start of the study. Study volunteers were randomly assigned to either intensive blood sugar control or to a standard diabetes program striving for levels of 7 percent to 7.9 percent.

The study began in 2001 and was halted in February 2008 when researchers realized that people in the intensive treatment group had an increased risk of dying. By then, the intensive treatment group had received 3.7 years of treatment aimed at lowering their A1C levels to below 6 percent. Ac
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