This important study showed that tight control over blood sugar can greatly lessen the possibility of suffering diabetic complications. Before this, since the 1930’s, medical researchers argued on the part played by blood sugar levels on complications resulting from diabetes without sufficient facts to support their beliefs. Fortunately, a lot has been learned since then.
First, there was the HbA1c (hemoglobin A1c) test which became widely used in the 1980’s. It proved to be accurate and is useful as an indicator of blood sugar control for a long period of time. At almost the same time, the creation of a blood glucose meter which is not too expensive and easily taken around allowed more diabetics to check their blood sugar levels more often by themselves in their own homes. Soon, more diabetics started taking insulin with pumps as well as the newly created multiple-injection systems. Then, medical researchers found methods to measure objectively the various levels of complications resulting from diabetes. There arose a greater desire to encourage evidence-based medicine (EBM), a method whereby decisions on treatment are derived from knowledge obtained through medical studies as well as the medical opinion of a medical practitioner and not based on cultural, individual experience or medical opinions not based on facts.
Diabetes Control and Complications -Video Guide
With so many achievements on diabetes, the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) was started. It is a study to compare the results of diabetics taking insulin intensively with those the regular regimens. It is carried out with 1,441 type one diabetics over a period of six and a half years. For the group undergoing intensive treatment, each participant got four insulin injections or a constant flow of insulin from a pump each day, together with often blood glucose monitoring. The regular group got merely one, perhaps two, insulin injections each day, with not as often monitoring of the blood sugar.
From the results, it was clear that levels of blood sugar for the group receiving intensive treatment generally remained nearer to the range considered normal. For those people, 7.2 percent was their HbA1c level whereas the regular treatment group, 8.9 percent was the level. Besides this, intensively treated diabetics showed that diabetic complications risks had been lessened significantly with diabetic retinal disease reduced by 76 percent, diabetic nerve disease lessened by 60 percent, as well as diabetic kidney disease reduced by 54 percent. The results can be found in a copy of the 1993 publication of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)
Studies that follow known as the Kumamoto Study as well as the UKPDS (United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study) indicate that oral drugs and tight control using insulin give the same good effects to type two diabetics.
Tight control can even lower the chance of getting heart disease, according to a 2005 study. From the same study, early results, in 2003, indicate that tight control can reduce the chances of getting atherosclerosis which normally happens before heart disease.
With the result of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial and these other studies supporting its findings, the latest usually used treatment for diabetics is tight control. This has motivated researches toward creating an easier to use, easily available as well as a less troublesome tight control for diabetics.