Standard Diabetes Management or Tight Diabetes Control?
It always seemed obvious that keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible in diabetes type 1 or diabetes type 2 individuals would prevent diabetes complications. But researchers couldn’t prove it for sure. Then, in 1993. researchers confirmed what many diabetes doctors and people with diabets had long suspected. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial showed that by keeping blood glucose levels under tight control, people with diabetes can delay or even prevent many of the complications of diabetes disease. The study confirmed that it was the excess sugar in the blood of people with diabetes that caused them to develop complications with their eyes, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys.
In 1983, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases began the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial. The goal of this trial was to see whether keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible would reduce the complications of diabetes. The 10-year Diabetes Control and Complications Trial compared how different levels of glucose management in people with type 1 diabetes affected some of the problems related to the disease. Among them were retinopathy, cardiovascular disease, nephropathy, and neuropathy. The study measured what would happen to people with diabetes using standard glucose control compared to exceptionally tight blood glucose control.
Two groups of people with type 1 diabetes who volunteered for the study were formed from 1,441 participants. The control group followed the standard diabetes management plan. They took the same dose of insulinat the same time each day. They checked glucose levels two or three times using a blood glucose test or urine glucose test for diabetes. People in the second group were part of the study group. They adhered to an intensive diabetes therapy plan to achieve tight blood glucose control. This involved three to four daily injections of insulin or the use of an insulin pump, monitoring blood glucose levels four to sven times each day, and adjusting insulin doses to match exercise and blood intake.
After 10 years of practicing tight control of diabetes the results were astounding! Tight diabetes control reduced the risk of developing diabetic eye disease, or retinopathy, by 76%. Among individuals who already had early signs of eye disease before entering the trial, intensive management slowed the progression of retinopathy by 54%. Tight blood glucose control for diabetes also reduced the risk of kidney disease by 50% and that of nerve disease by 60%.
Before Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, many people with diabetes thought that complications would progress no matter what they did. After the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, everybody know that keeping glucose levels in control does matter.