Second Half of the DCCT: More Great News for Type 1s

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.

Injection2The 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.

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7 Responses

  1. PrintCrafter
    PrintCrafter December 26, 2005 at 10:54 am | | Reply

    Wow!

  2. Kirk
    Kirk December 26, 2005 at 5:50 pm | | Reply

    Reinforces what we all know intuitively. And yes it can be hard..

  3. Andrea
    Andrea December 27, 2005 at 7:46 am | | Reply

    I’m sure many of us have already heard this, but it’s good to be reminded that we can control this disease and prevent complications from occuring down the line. We can all live long, healthy (AND happy)lives :) .

  4. Scott
    Scott December 28, 2005 at 8:54 am | | Reply

    Question: Did we really need to spend another 17 years and billions of dollars more to prove that if we were able to maintain non-diabetic blood glucose levels consistently, we would would see closer to non-diabetic levels of heart disease and stroke? I don’t think so.

    Perhaps the most positive outcome from this study may be the realization of the huge clinical limitiations of current treatments, and perhaps more funding into finding ways to make treatments easier and more effective.

    Now that would be revolutionary!

  5. Lara
    Lara December 30, 2005 at 9:25 am | | Reply

    Amy, are you saying you think the millions of dollars spent on the DCCT were worthwhile?? You should be condemning the waste of taxpayer dollars that could have gone towards funding research of a cure. “Landmark study”–{eye rolls}.

  6. AmyT
    AmyT December 30, 2005 at 9:54 am | | Reply

    Wow, you people are down on the DCCT… All I’m saying is that any and all empirical evidence showing that BG control leads to a long and healthy life is very good news.

  7. Sarah
    Sarah January 10, 2006 at 5:58 am | | Reply

    Great news…but insurance companies rarely cover the supplies for Type 1′s to test 8 times per day to achieve these results on a regular basis, without a fight. In light of that, the results of this study don’t mean much to us.

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