73rd Scientific Sessions: Major Long-Term Benefits of Intensive Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes

[MUSIC]. We’re back reporting from the American Diabetes Association’s 73rd Scientific Sessions, the largest diabetes meeting in the world. I’m Anna Baker with breaking news from McCormick Place in Chicago. Today, we heard good news about long-term intensive therapy for people with type 1 diabetes. That describes patients who manage their diabetes with frequent insulin injections or insulin pumps guided by frequent self-testing. Not only does this treatment help them achieve near-normal blood glucose levels, it also substantially reduces their risks of developing severe eye disease, impaired kidney function, heart disease and stroke. These findings are the latest results from a landmark government-funded study that just hit its 30th anniversary. In 1993, this NIH-funded trial first reported that keeping patients’ blood glucose levels near normal reduced their early stages of eye, kidney and nerve complications by as much as 76% compared with conventional therapy. While the initial results were dramatic, we didn’t know whether intensive therapy would also reduce complications longer-term. So follow-up has been conducted over the past 20 years to figure that out, and the new data continue to show positive results. Let’s go over this in more detail. Kidney disease. Long-term intensive therapy has shown a 50% lower risk for developing impaired kidney function. This is big since kidney failure increases a later risk of heart disease and death more than any other diabetes complication. Heart disease and Stroke. Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of early death from diabetes. Investigators reported that intensive therapy reduced heart disease and stroke by almost 60%, which should, over time, lead to fewer early deaths. Eye Disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults. Intensive therapy reduces the severe stages of diabetic eye disease and the need for surgery and procedures by 50%. Although, we have means of treating severe eye disease, to prevent vision loss, it’s always better to reduce, it’s a development in the first place. And there’s more, two thirds of study participants experience gradual stiffening of their hands and shoulders. Keeping blood glucose levels and urine normal will also lower the risk of this common complication which affects your ability to carry out daily activities. So what does this mean for people with type 1 diabetes and their diabetes care providers? It’s important to start intensive therapy as soon as possible and stick to it over your lifetime. Yes, it comes with more effort, more expense, and increased risk for hypoglycemia or low blood glucose, but that pays off in the long run. Because it considerably reduces your risk of developing serious complications. Now, we need to make sure that all patients with type 1 diabetes are able to take advantage of these remarkable findings and to make intensive therapy as convenient and as safe as possible. I’m Anna Baker with your breaking news update from the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago. To view this press release online, please visit the For Media section of our website, diabetes.org. And for the latest video coverage of the meeting, stay tuned to diabetes.org/breakingnews. [MUSIC].

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