Once again, the landmark Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) has proven what we kinda-sorta pretty much thought we knew about strict control of blood sugar -- that it makes a HUGE difference, cuts the risk of developing diabetes complications, and can indeed add years, if not DECADES, to your life!
The newest research, published in the Dec. 22 New England Journal of Medicine, is again being called "a landmark study" confirming that strict glucose control cuts risk of heart disease -- still the greatest killer of diabetics -- by more than half.
The findings, from nearly 1,400 Type 1 diabetics who have been followed for more than a decade, provide the first direct evidence that the risk of the most serious complication of the disease, which affects millions of Americans, can be minimized by aggressive treatment, specialists said.
''This is the most important diabetes news of the year," said lead researcher David Nathan of Harvard Medical School, who co-chaired the study. ''This is the remaining piece of the puzzle with regard to our ability to take the teeth out of diabetes and make it a less dangerous disease."
Interestingly, even under close scrutiny of doctors and researchers, the patients on the whole did not reach their goal of a 6.0 A1c, but rather hovered around 7.0. Nevertheless, the health impacts were huge. Actually good news for the rest of us: if we can maintain an A1c at or around 7, we are on the path to a healthy, complication-free life!
And make no mistake:
"This is hard work for the patients," Nathan said. "We showed them the road to salvation. The problem is that this is just a road map. In the end, they have to make the trip. And it is a hard trip."
We know, we know. But at least now we have concrete evidence that the hard work pays off.