Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tight glucose control cuts eye problems

While intensive glucose control can not prevent cardiovascular events, it protects the individual against diabetic eye, nerve and kidney disease.

Previous studies had reported that aggressive drug treatment to lower blood sugar can effectively reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels in diabetic patients. Strict control of blood sugar, however, is associated with an increase in the risk of dying from heart problems or experiencing episodes of severely low blood sugar.

According to the study presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting, lowering a diabetic's blood sugar to near-normal levels would prevent certain complications commonly reported in diabetics.

Diabetic retinopathy, the chief cause of vision loss in working-age individuals worldwide, develops more slowly among individuals who had their blood sugar lowered aggressively along with those who received fibrate and statins simultaneously. Intensive control of blood glucose levels also lowered the levels of protein in the urine, a sign of kidney disease.

It also improved peripheral nerve health and function. Individuals on tight control, on the other hand, gained more weight and were at risk of very low blood sugar. The treatment also did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease for those with long-term type 2 diabetes who are at risk of heart problems.

"The observed benefits associated with intense glycemia management should be weighed against higher total and cardiovascular-related mortality, weight gain, and severe hypoglycemia in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease," scientists concluded.