New research in the United States into the treatment regimens of older patients with diabetes has revealed that, although well-managed levels of blood sugar in the body were linked with less of a chance of major complications, the lowest levels were linked with a small but significant greater risk of death.
The observational study, published in Diabetes Care, involved over 70,000 people with type 2 diabetes and who were in their 60s or older, finding that those patients that with intermediate levels of control had the best overall outcomes.
Elbert Huang, lead author on the study, commented “We saw increased mortality and complications, as anticipated, among those with very high blood sugars, but we also saw a modestly increased risk of death among those with very low levels of blood sugar .”
Although current advice points towards maintaining glucose at low levels for diabetes patients, at less than 7 per cent, as this is where blood glucose levels are for non-diabetics, there are now concerns that this is a misleading indicator for people over the age of 60. The scientists say that more work needs to be done at a clinical level.
A trial in 2008, the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD), was stopped because it showed a higher mortality rate in older patients who received intensive glucose-lowering treatments.

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