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Published on 27 January 2010

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Diabetes: sugar moderation needed

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Adults with type 2 diabetes should adopt moderation in controlling blood sugar as lowering it too far can be as risky as letting it stay too high, say researchers.

Sufferers using insulin to cut blood sugar levels to near normal were 50% more likely to die in the study period as those using a combination of oral drugs like metformin and sulphonylurea. This may be because type 2 diabetics needing insulin are usually older and more sick anyway.

Keeping diabetics on oral drugs raising sensitivity to insulin, combined with diet and exercise, may be the safest way of controlling blood sugar in type 2 diabetics. Doctors should strive to keep patients on this treatment for as long as possible, said the scientists in a study in The Lancet

Patients should see their doctor over the next few weeks to discuss this treatment, said Craig Currie, who led the study by a team from Cardiff’s medical school.

“Conventionally, doctors have always been told to drive down (blood sugar levels) as low as possible. It will come as a major surprise to many doctors that taking people down too far appears to be quite risky,” he said.

Copyright Press Association 2010

Department of Health

 



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