Intensive Diabetes Treatment May Slow Atherosclerosis

12-year follow-up shows slower atherosclerotic progress in intensive treatment diabetes group

THURSDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Intensive treatment of type 1 diabetes slows the progression of atherosclerosis during a 12-year period after therapy, according to a study published in the February issue of Diabetes.

Joseph F. Polak, M.D., M.P.H., from the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, and colleagues investigated the long-term effects of intensive diabetic treatment on the progression of atherosclerosis as measured by the intima-media thickness (IMT) in participants of the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) trial, a follow-up of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT). A total of 1,116 patients with type 1 diabetes underwent common carotid artery IMT measurements in the first, sixth, and 12th year of the EDIC trial. IMT progression was compared between DCCT intensive and conventional treatment groups.

The investigators found that IMT progression was significantly less in the DCCT intensive treatment group compared to the conventional group from one to six years (0.019 mm), and from years one to 12 (0.014 mm). IMT progression was similar in both groups from years six to 12. There was a strong association between mean A1C (glycosylated hemoglobin levels) during DCCT and EDIC and IMT progression. Other significant predictors of IMT progression were male sex, older age, smoking status, albuminuria, and higher systolic blood pressure.

"We conclude that during a period of 12 years after the end of the DCCT intervention, progression of atherosclerosis in patients with type 1 diabetes remains lower in the original intensive than the conventional treatment group," the authors write.

The study received financial support in the form of materials or supplies from several pharmaceutical and medical devices companies.

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