Avoid Complications: Proof in Type 1 Management

Your doctor has been telling you that tight control over Type 1 diabetes is a good idea. Now there is new proof that your doctor was right.

In the latest issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine researchers say that consistent and positive glucose control in Type 1 diabetics early and always may lead to a life without some of the worst complications associated with diabetes.

Dr. Daniel Nathan, director of the diabetes center at Massachusetts General Hospital is the co-author of the report and says, “We wanted to describe what happens with modern day management, and over a 30-year period, we found that people with type 1 diabetes should no longer be suffering from those most serious complications.”

Those complications include…



Over 1,600 diabetics participated in the study that took place over 3 decades. Researchers are quick to point out that their findings included early glucose control efforts that were not nearly as precise or controlled as they are today. They suggest this means better news in the future because with newer methods of glucose control there may be room to reduce Type 1 diabetic complications even further. “Type 1 diabetes need not be accompanied by the frequent occurrence of long-term complications, and people with type 1 diabetes can look forward to long, healthy, productive lives,” Nathan indicated.

In virtually every case the risk for the most intense diabetic complication was cut in half when measured between the tightly controlled group and those involved in the conventional group.

What this means is a 50% reduction in instances of heart disease, blindness and even amputations among Type 1 diabetics who take an active role in their diabetes management.

One struggle researchers noted was that because Type 1 diabetes often begins in childhood there may be a transitionary phase between a parental insistence on tight control and a Type 1 diabetic youth assuming personal responsibility for that control. There can be a period of time when control is not well regulated, but researchers believe that when the young person acknowledges they feel better when their diabetes is controlled the push for quality control becomes a priority for the Type 1 diabetic.

Nathan points to the positives of that swing, “Physicians and patients can now have a clear idea of what their prospects are over a long period of diabetes. They had a bad outlook — a chance of developing amputation, kidney failure, and blindness. But with modern-day therapy, their outlook is much brighter than it has ever been.”

There can be one complication that comes with the territory of tight glucose control in Type 1 diabetics and that is in regards to A1c levels. Doctors want to see that level lower than a 7, but in many instances this can lead to severe hypoglycemia resulting in a diabetic coma or seizure. Not all patients have a clear understanding of how to manage episodes of hypoglycemia even when they may be managing their diabetes very well.

In context of history diabetes was once viewed as a death sentence. This new study confirms what many health care providers have been saying all along. The better you become at assuming responsibility for your own daily care the fewer potential health issues you may encounter as you age.