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Format: 04/25/2014
Format: 04/25/2014


Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Survey: Intensive program to control blood sugar reduces complications

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

By Allison M. Heinrichs


Dr. Patricia Bononi long has pushed patients with type 1 diabetes to stick with a regimented schedule of blood tests and insulin injections to control the condition.

Now a 30-year survey, which included results from 161 Pittsburgh volunteers, gives her realistic data to show patients why it is important to precisely control blood-sugar levels.

"The magnitude of the study was very impressive," said Bononi, associate director of the Joslin Diabetes affiliate at West Penn Hospital. She was not directly involved in the survey but had patients who were. "The message to patients with type 1 and their doctors is to try to get control early. ... This is something doctors can point to and say, 'Yes, your hard work is paying off.' "

A national study co-authored by Dr. Trevor Orchard and Rachel Miller, epidemiologists at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, found that intensive control of the level of sugar in the blood cuts in half the rates of several diabetes complications. The study was published this week in the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine.

The survey, paid for by the National Institutes of Health, followed 1,441 people diagnosed an average of 30 years ago with type 1 diabetes, sometimes called juvenile diabetes.

Through the 1980s, about half the group was given the conventional therapy of one or two daily injections with insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. The injections were meant to keep the patients from becoming severely hyperglycemic, which happens when too much sugar circulates in the blood. At the time it was standard care.

The other half of the group received intensive therapy of at least three daily insulin injections. The goal was to keep their blood-sugar levels as close as possible to those of a person without diabetes.

The intensive care was found to be so much better than conventional treatment that it became standard care by the mid-1990s.

To read more, visit the Tribune-Review web site.


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