It is 20 years since the results of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) were first published and the results show emphatically that good diabetes control lessens the likelihood of developing long term complications.
The DCCT trial was a 10 year trial started in 1982 to investigate” whether achieving good blood glucose control would reduce the likelihood of developing long term complications in type 1 diabetes.
During the DCCT trial, patients were given intensive diabetes therapy which included testing blood glucose levels and taking insulin multiple times per day.
Patients from the original trial have continued to be monitored and in 2013, over 30 years after patients were enrolled onto the trial, the numbers of complications have been reviewed again.
The findings show that patients which have maintained lower HbA1c readings of 53 mmol/mol (7%) or below had significantly lower risks of kidney damage, retinopathy and cardiovascular problems.
The follow up in 2013 showed that patients on intensive therapy showed the following results compared with patients not on intensive therapy:
• A 57% reduction in heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular death;
• 39% lower incidence of early signs of kidney damage (microalbuminuria);
• 61% lower incidence of higher levels of protein in the urine (macroalbuminuria);
• 46% lower risk of retinopathy.
The trial results offers hope and shows that by achieving good blood glucose control, the risks of developing complications can be greatly reduced.

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