People with type 2 diabetes can protect themselves against heart attacks, strokes and death by intensively lowering their blood pressure, but intensive blood sugar control did not produce the same benefits, according to new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study involved nearly 8,500 participants who had completed a diabetes trial during which some patients had their blood pressure and blood sugar levels strictly controlled, and others received standard care.
The diabetes trial had shown a clear benefit from blood pressure reduction and blood sugar lowering. However, the unanswered question was whether the benefits go away or last if intensive blood pressure and blood sugar control were stopped. Thus, researchers continued to follow participants in the diabetes trial for 5.9 years after the trial was stopped.
Researchers found that there was no lasting heart attack or stroke prevention in diabetics who intensively controlled their blood sugar levels for five years. However, they did find that doing so did help them prevent kidney disease, a common complication of uncontrolled diabetes. And, intensively controlling blood pressure had a lasting protection against dying from a heart attack or stroke, though to a lesser degree as time went by.
Intensive control of blood pressure and blood sugar often requires medications, which can pose other health risks. For example, drugs to help regulate blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes can carry cancer risks. Actos has been linked to bladder cancer, and newer drugs Byetta and Januvia can increase the risk of acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Source: NewsMax Health