Serious complications in people with type 1 diabetes and ongoing poor blood sugar control

October 2, 2012

Strategies implemented in high-income countries to improve blood glucose control in people with type 1 diabetes and so reduce complications, such as heart attacks, strokes, and early death, are working, but there is much need for further improvement, according to a study from Scotland published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Using information from national databases representing over 20 000 patients from 2005 to 2008, Scottish researchers led by Helen Colhoun from the University of Dundee, found that people with type 1 diabetes have 2 to 3 times the risk of heart attacks, strokes, or premature death than the general population and that this increased risk is higher in women than in men. The authors found that in those with type 1 diabetes, the risk (chance) of having a (heart attack or stroke) for the first time was 2.5 higher in men and 3.2 higher in women, than in the general Scottish population. Furthermore, in those with type 1 diabetes, death ratesfrom any cause were 2.6 higher in men and 2.7 higher in women than in the general Scottish population.

The authors also found a high number of deaths from coma in younger people with diabetes (caused by either an extremely high or an extremely low ) and two to three extra deaths per 100 people a year inthose aged 60 to 69 years with type 1 diabetes.

Worryingly, the authors also found that the majority of patients in this Scottish dataset had poorly controlled , with only 13% having (a test that measures the over the previous 3 months) in the target range. People with type 1 diabetes also had similar levels of smoking and of being overweight—risk factors of cardiovascular disease—as the general population.

The importance of tight blood sugar control for minimizing complications from diabetes has been understood for almost two decades. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand why so few people with type 1 diabetes in settings such as that studied here have good control of their blood sugar, and what can be done to improve this situation.

The authors say: "Although the relative risks for cardiovascular disease and total mortality associated with type 1 diabetes in this population have declined relative to earlier studies, continues to be associated with higher cardiovascular disease and death rates than the non-diabetic population."

They continue: "A striking feature of the data is the very low rate of achievement of glycaemic control targets."

The authors add: "Risk factor management should be improved to further reduce risk but better treatment approaches for achieving good glycaemic control are badly needed."

Explore further: Blood sugar diabetes risk for South Asians

More information: Livingstone SJ, Looker HC, Hothersall EJ, Wild SH, Lindsay RS, et al. (2012) Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Total Mortality in Adults with Type 1 Diabetes: Scottish Registry Linkage Study. PLoS Med 9(10): e1001321. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001321

Related Stories

Blood sugar diabetes risk for South Asians

July 24, 2012
A new diabetes study at the University of Leicester has discovered that South Asians (people of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lanka origin) have higher levels of blood sugar than white Europeans independent of risk ...

New study examines risks and benefits of the first line treatment for diabetes

April 10, 2012
Although the drug metformin is considered the gold standard in the management of type 2 diabetes, a study by a group of French researchers published in this week's PLoS Medicine suggests that the long-term benefits of this ...

Diabetes associated with higher risk of cardiovascular problems in men

March 25, 2012
According to a new study by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), men with type 2 diabetes treated with insulin without a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) were at higher risk for major cardiovascular events ...

Elderly diabetes patients with very low glucose levels have slightly increased risk of death

April 18, 2011
A new study of older diabetes patients has found that well-controlled blood sugar levels were associated with a lower risk of major complications such as heart attacks, amputation and kidney disease, but the very lowest blood ...

Wealth linked to diabetes death risk in new study

May 27, 2011
University researchers have found that people with Type 2 diabetes from an affluent background had the same risk of dying as someone without the condition from a deprived area.

Concern over intensive treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes

July 26, 2011
Doctors should be cautious about prescribing intensive glucose lowering treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes as a way of reducing heart complications, concludes a new study published in the British Medical Journal ...

Recommended for you

Diabetes pill might replace injection to control blood sugar

October 17, 2017
(HealthDay)— An injectable class of diabetes medication—called glucagon-like peptide-1 or GLP-1—might one day be available in pill form, research suggests.

Skimping on sleep may contribute to gestational diabetes

October 17, 2017
The amount of time spent sleeping in the United States has dropped significantly in the past twenty years with almost a quarter of women and 16 percent of men experiencing insufficient sleep. Now, a new study has found that ...

Artificial pancreas performs well in clinical trial

October 16, 2017
During more than 60,000 hours of combined use of a novel artificial pancreas system, participants in a 12-week, multi-site clinical trial showed significant improvements in two key measures of well-being in people living ...

Omega-6 fats may help prevent type 2 diabetes

October 11, 2017
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes could be significantly reduced by eating a diet rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, a new study suggests.

Where there's type 1 diabetes, celiac disease may follow

October 10, 2017
(HealthDay)—Parents of young children with type 1 diabetes need to be on the lookout for symptoms of another autoimmune condition—celiac disease, new research suggests.

Type 1 diabetes and the microbiota—MAIT cells as biomarkers and new therapeutic targets

October 10, 2017
Together with colleagues from AP-HP Necker–Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris, scientists from the Cochin Institute (CNRS / INSERM / Paris Descartes University) have discovered that the onset of type 1 diabetes is preceded ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.