Researchers say about 1 million people in the United States have type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Intense blood sugar monitoring may help people with type 1 diabetes reduce their risk of nerve damage. Researchers studied more than 1,400 patients with type 1 diabetes. Each participant was assigned to practice either standard or intense diabetes control.
Patients in the standard therapy group checked their blood sugar one or two times daily and gave themselves only one or two injections of insulin. On the other hand, patients in the intensive therapy group checked their blood sugar at least four times a day and had at least three insulin injections a day or treatment with an insulin pump.
Patients who kept intense control of their blood sugar levels for about six years had a lower risk of developing nerve damage. Researchers say they observed that those who stopped the intensive therapy were about one-third less likely to develop nerve damage years later. Thus researchers say that good glucose control should be started as early as possible.