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Tight Management of Type 1 Diabetes Worth the Effort
Date:7/27/2009

Rates of serious complications drop with intensive therapy, study shows

MONDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- By carefully controlling blood sugar levels and taking medications that lower blood pressure and cholesterol, people with type 1 diabetes can significantly reduce their risk of developing the most serious complications associated with the disease, new research shows.

In a study appearing in the July 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, scientists report that people who intensively manage their blood sugar levels have less than a 1 percent chance of becoming blind, needing a kidney transplant or losing a limb.

"We wanted to describe what happens with modern day management, and over a 30-year period, we found that people with type 1 diabetes should no longer be suffering from those most serious complications," said study co-author Dr. Daniel Nathan, director of the diabetes center at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"This study provides a good motivational message," said Nathan, who added that with good blood glucose control, "type 1 diabetes need not be accompanied by the frequent occurrence of long-term complications, and people with type 1 diabetes can look forward to long, healthy, productive lives."

Barbara Araneo, director of diabetic complications for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, called the study results "fantastic." She credited recent improvements in care on good blood glucose management plus a greater awareness of the need for controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels in people with type 1 diabetes. "A lot of people key into the [blood sugar control] number, but we really need to look at it systemically," she said.

The current study is a continuation of previous work and included 1,441 people enrolled in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), as well as 161 people f
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