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Aggressive diabetes treatment not always the best approach

The use of intensive treatments to control diabetes, such as the lowering of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, has little effect on the prevention of heart disease and strokes, research in the US has revealed. However, there is evidence that such an aggressive approach can have a beneficial effect on diabetic eye disease, and nerve and kidney disease .
The study, which was backed by the US government, was closed down a couple of years ago when it was found that there were 20 per cent more deaths among diabetics that had heart problems who got intensive treatment to lower their blood sugar compared to those who were treated more conservatively. The tests were continued when those patients who were receiving the tougher treatment were transferred into the easier trial group.
The research was attempting to prove that lowering blood sugar to near-normal levels would prevent serious heart complications, one of the main killers of those with type 2 diabetes .
Denise Simons-Morto, of the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, said “These results underscore the importance of patient-centered care that stresses individual treatment choices made in consultation with a physician.”
The research team recommended that patients with diabetes are all treated individually, especially as intensively lowering blood sugar can increase the risk of dying from heart problems or bring on severely low blood sugar.

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