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Tight Blood Sugar Control in Older Diabetics May Not Reduce Heart Risk
Date:6/29/2010

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Intensive control of blood glucose levels does not reduce the odds of cardiovascular disease for those with long-term type 2 diabetes who are at risk of heart problems, as researchers have known. But it may have some other benefits, a new analysis suggests.

Strict control of blood sugar in a certain group of patients may slow progression of eye disease and help kidney and peripheral nerve health, the researchers found.

The new study is the latest analysis from the ACCORD (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes) trial.

The study results, like the previous research, apply only to a certain group of people with diabetes, said study lead author Dr. Faramarz Ismail-Beigi, professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland.

"The trial fundamentally is on older adults, average age 60, who had diabetes 10 years on average," he said. "All are type 2." Because they have had the disease for 10 years, typically the disease has progressed, he said. The 10,251 participants had either a history of heart disease or two or more risk factors for it.

The study compared intense blood sugar control -- A1C values of less than 6 percent -- with standard, 7 to 7.9 percent, control. A1C levels reflect blood sugar levels over the preceding three months. Under 6 percent is viewed as normal; diabetics are often advised to keep it at around 7.

The study results, published online June 29 in The Lancet, were to be presented Tuesday at the American Diabetes Association annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla.

Study participants were assigned to either intensive glucose-control therapy or standard therapy. When it was found that those in the intensive group had an increase in deaths, the study was stopped in February 2008, and all participants were switched to the standard group for
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