Our featured research news in 2008 looked at new treatment approaches, prevention strategies, drug research, and changes in medical care. The studies also reflected the changes in medical industry to decrease unnecessary costs without cutting care. Here is a quick recap on diabetes research featured from 2008.
There was big news for diabetes care this year. There were two major studies underway to determine the benefits of low A1Cs, a measure of control of blood sugar. The current goal for A1Cs is between 7%-9%. The belief was that maintaining A1Cs below 6% could drastically cut down the secondary diseases associated with diabetes namely heart disease. Many were surprised to learn that one study was stopped early because of high mortality rates:
- The ACCORD trial was stopped after 3.5 years when the group aiming for an A1C of 6% or lower began to develop higher mortality rates than the groups aiming for an A1C 7%-9%. In addition, the low A1C group was not found to have a lower risk of heart disease.
- A similar study called the ADVANCE study did not find an increased level of mortality in their low A1C group. However, the group did have higher rates of hospitalization and hypoglycemic results.
Lifestyle changes were also shown to be important.
- Many people may switch to a fruit juice with the intention of a healthy choice. However, many fruit drinks are sugar sweetened. A study from Boston University found that regular consumption of these drinks increased the chance of developing type 2 diabetes in African American women.
- Weight loss is an important factor to diabetes control and prevention. Unfortunately, it can be hard to accomplish. A study from England found that even a brief weight loss counseling session could help people at risk for diabetes lose weight.
How Does This Affect You?
The general recommendations for good A1C control remain between 7%-9%. Work with your healthcare team to help maintain those levels. The more control on blood glucose levels the lower your chance of developing secondary health issues.
Some types of diabetes can be prevented with lifestyle changes, particularly weight loss. Increasing your physical activity can help with blood glucose levels and weight loss. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week. Track your diet and begin to eliminate high-sugar foods. Talk to a dietitian to help develop a balanced meal plan. Reducing your weight by as little as 10% can help decrease the severity or risk of diabetes.
- Reviewer: Larissa J. Lucas, MD
- Review Date: 01/2008 -