The benefits of intensive glucose therapy for diabetics need to be balanced against the increase in total and cardiovascular disease-related death, increased weight gain, and high risk for severe low blood sugar, scientists have said.
The study was aimed to determine whether intensive blood glucose (sugar) control worked better than standard blood sugar control among diabetics.
Dr. Faramarz Ismail-Beigi, a diabetes specialist with University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, and colleagues conducted a study that examined patients who underwent intensive glucose-lowering treatment for 3.5 years.
There were some micro vascular improvements - reduced incidences of albuminuria in the intensive group, compared to those receiving standard treatment, along with fewer cataract extractions during the study period.
Visual acuity (sharpness of vision) and nerve function also improved for these patients.
Ismail-Beigi cautions that deciding the aggressiveness of therapy depends on what stage of the disease patients are in - for patients who are newly diagnosed with diabetes, intensive, aggressive therapy could delay the onset of some of the complications of diabetes, such as kidney disease and eye problems.
However, for those having diabetes for 10 years or more, intense therapy is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular death.