Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tight Rein on Blood Sugar Has No Heart Benefits

Controlling blood sugar not helping diabetics? It's kind of a shocking headline, but there it is:

Two large studies involving more than 21,000 people found that people with Type 2 diabetes had no reduction in their risk of heart attacks and strokes and no reduction in their death rate if they rigorously controlled their blood sugar levels.

The results provide more details and bolster findings reported in February, when one of the studies, by the National Institutes of Health, ended prematurely. At that time, researchers surprised diabetes experts with the announcement that study participants who were rigorously controlling their blood sugar actually had a higher death rate than those whose blood sugar control was less stringent
Such news really goes against some of the central dogma of treating diabetes, namely that tight sugar control is paramount. As much as such research is necessary in order to figure out how to truly treat the disease, I fear that patients will get confused when they read such headlines and perhaps a few will think that they don't need to control their sugar at all. Then again, perhaps I am not giving patients enough credit.


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