Diabetes Complications and Prevention

But the good news is that we know more about why these problems happen to people with diabetes, so we know more about how to prevent them.

The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT)  and the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) showed that keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible can help prevent or slow the progression of many of the complications of diabetes. The DCCT examined more than 1,400 people with type 1 diabetes for 10 years, and the UKPDS studied people with type 2 diabetes for over 20 years. Those people who kept their blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible ended up with less eye disease, less kidney disease, and less nerve damage.

The volunteers in the DCCT’s intensive management group monitored their blood more often - 4 to 7 times each day - and injected insulin more often. They stayed in close touch with their health care team. And their hard work paid off. They cut their risk for developing these complications by more than 50 percent. For example, those who kept their A1C levels closer to normal had 76 percent less eye disease, 60 percent less nerve damage, and 35 to 56 percent less kidney damage than the study group who used standard therapy.

As you are working to lower your glucose levels, it may help to know that any improvement you can make in lowering your blood glucose levels will benefit you. The less time you spend with too much glucose in your blood, the lower your risk for developing diabetes complications.

To manage your glucose, you need to help your body use the glucose you take in as efficiently as possible. If you use insulin,  managing blood glucose levels involves matching insulin doses to your food intake and exercise. If you use oral diabetes medications, the technique for managing blood glucose levels is similar, but fine-tuning is harder. And for everyone with diabetes, regular physical activity helps your body get the glucose into your cells where it can produce the energy you need.

Even if you already have one of the complications of diabetes, it’s not too late. Most complications can be helped by lowering your blood glucose levels, even if they have already developed.

You may be able to decrease your symptoms by managing your blood glucose and taking other steps to healthier living.

So, if you have already decided to live a more healthy lifestyle - exercising regularly and choosing more nutritious foods, for example you’re on your way to preventing complications.

Martha M. Funnell, MS, RN, CDE
Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Robert M. Anderson, EdD
Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Shereen Arent, JD
National Director of Legal Advocacy
American Diabetes Association

American Diabetes Association Complete Guide to Diabetes

Page 3 of 31 2 3

Provided by ArmMed Media