Skip to comments.Diabetes Study Partially Halted After Deaths
Posted on 02/07/2008 8:03:26 PM PST by neverdem
For decades, researchers believed that if people with diabetes lowered their blood sugar to normal levels, they would no longer be at high risk of dying from heart disease. But a major federal study of more than 10,000 middle-aged and older people with Type 2 diabetes has found that lowering blood sugar actually increased their risk of death, researchers reported Wednesday.
The researchers announced that they were abruptly halting that part of the study, whose surprising results call into question how the disease, which affects 21 million Americans, should be managed.
The studys investigators emphasized that patients should still consult with their doctors before considering changing their medications.
Among the study participants who were randomly assigned to get their blood sugar levels to nearly normal, there were 54 more deaths than in the group whose levels were less rigidly controlled. The patients were in the study for an average of four years when investigators called a halt to the intensive blood sugar lowering and put all of them on the less intense regimen.
The results do not mean blood sugar is meaningless. Lowered blood sugar can protect against kidney disease, blindness and amputations, but the findings inject an element of uncertainty into what has been dogma that the lower the blood sugar the better and that lowering blood sugar levels to normal saves lives.
Medical experts were stunned.
Its confusing and disturbing that this happened, said Dr. James Dove, president of the American College of Cardiology. For 50 years, weve talked about getting blood sugar very low. Everything in the literature would suggest this is the right thing to do, he added.
Dr. Irl Hirsch, a diabetes researcher at the University of Washington, said the studys results would be hard to explain to some patients who have spent years...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Check USAToday. The aggressively treated folks had about 10% fewer non-fatal MIs, IIRC.
There are SO MANY VARIABLES in human health.....and people with diabetes usually have OTHER problems.....
More confusing medical information.
It boggles the mind.
Cool, more ice cream!
Which is the problem with the vast majority of these "studies".
Confounding with the ACCORD results, go figure. Maybe there was a selection bias. Who knows?
Freepmail me if you want on or off of the diabetes ping list.
6.4% vs. 7.9%?? That can’t be right.
Could anyone convert that to mg/dL? (that’s milligrams per deciliter). My blood sugar meter is in those units.
As I recall, one pint of blood is about a pound.
One deciliter of blood would be about 466000 mg.
So by weight, 100 mg/dL looks to be about 0.02%.
Now the fasting level should be 80-100 mg/dL. However I don’t think my max is more than 0.1% by weight.
I can’t believe the proportions by volume would be vastly different.
Do you take any cod liver oil?
Well, it means that this drug had other effects they had not counted on. They are discovering that diabetes is influenced by so many factors in the body including the brain, the kidneys, the liver, the intestines, and even active enzymes, etc. in body fat. You can’t just slash one thing and not expect other things to be affected, too.
I think the same applies to statins. I won’t take them, because of what I believe they do to other systems in the body. My doctor isn’t too happy with me. If I am wrong, she can come stand on my air hose after my heart attack and tell me “I told you so.” Obviously, a lot of people swear by statins. We each have to make those choices for ourselves. And, yes, it is confusing and much of the information is contradictory.
BTW, I am borderline diabetic and the only thing that keeps my blood sugar under control is an extremely low carb diet. It isn’t fat in the diet that is bad for you. It is what carbohydrates do in combination with fat. It’s not an easy diet to follow, but it’s the best one for me.
Have you looked at using Red Yeast Rice (be careful...they are like statins, but natural)....you might want to look into them.
LOL!! I just grabbed a candy bar.
Thanks, but I am not even convinced that cholesterol is the problem that the current wisdom says it is. In fact, people with very low cholesterol levels are more susceptible to cancer, at least that has been shown to be true in some studies.
I’m not trying to tell anyone else what to do. We all have to try to make some sense out of all the confusing medical information out there. If I’m wrong, then I’ll have to live with the consequences.
I do appreciate your suggestion, though. It’s very kind of you.
It looks like the intent of the study was to validate the notion that taking more insulin and medications in order to more tightly control blood glucose levels would be a good thing. The maroons did not bother to suspect that the negative effects of the extra insulin could outweigh the benefits of lower glucose. How about that! Insulin is known to be a killer and is responsible for the destruction of the fine capillaries everywhere.
This is astonishing.
Your welcome. I have a hereditary small dense LDL....found through the VAP test (same cost as a reg cholesterol test, except they do expanded testing).....anyhoooo....I’m thinking of doing the red yeast rice thingy....I agree with you about whether “cholesterol” esp. total cholesterol, and whether it’s a problem....OH....I had a paternal g-father die in his sleep at age 50 of massive heart attack....so, I do try to watch it.....
This study is extremely flawed !
if the BS was lowered by insulin, no wonder the increase in heart conditions.
Too much Insulin will cause heart and feet and eye problems.
Some types of Type II is insulin resistance, if you add injected insulin it will cause all the problems.
However if you lower BS by diet and exercise it will not cause increased Heart, fee and eye problems.
It caught my attention too. IIRC, that came from the USAToday piece, and it means nothing without defining what terms they are describing. That's one the problems with the press in general.
Do you have a link for the source?
I copied this article to discuss it with my doctor at the end of this month. My sugar reached up to 500 for quite a few months but with insulin and metformin it’s now near normal. Last year another doctor had me on Avandia and Avandemet which also drew similar results from a study. When your sugar is too high, you will know it and become lethargic. Definitely, consult your doctor before embracing this study.
Thanks for the link. Be advised that hemoglobin A1c is a just a biomarker that reflects on how well blood glucose has been controlled in the last 2 - 3 months, IIRC.
This result shouldn’t come as a surprise at all. For years, I have noted that people diagnosed with maturity-onset (Type II) diabetes see their health continue to decline despite medical treatment with drugs. If they live long enough, their dosages of diabetic meds eventually have to be increased, or different meds have to be given, and eventually many have to resort to insulin. In those same people, the same is true for their hypertension and high cholesterol meds. In other words, despite taking meds that normalize their blood sugar levels, blood pressure levels, and blood lipids, they continue to get sicker. The obvious implication of that is that the underlying problem that caused the high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and/or hypertension to begin with, has not been treated.
Most of the patients in this study probably were treated with insulin, or the classes of drugs that stimulate the body to make more insulin. Therein lies the problem. Treating Type II diabetes with insulin or insulin-producing drugs is like throwing gas on a fire to put it out, and more importantly, the underlying problem goes unaddressed.
The article discussing this study backs this up. Note the following from the article:
“Dr. John Buse, the vice-chairman of the studys steering committee and the president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association, described what was required to get blood sugar levels low, as measured by a protein, hemoglobin A1C, which was supposed to be at 6 percent or less. ...Many were taking four or five shots of insulin a day, he said. Some were using insulin pumps. Some were monitoring their blood sugar seven or eight times a day. .. .They also took pills to lower their blood sugar, in addition to the pills they took for other medical conditions and to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol. ...Those assigned to the less stringent blood sugar control, an A1C level of 7.0 to 7.9 percent, had an easier time of it. They measured their blood sugar once or twice a day, went to the clinic every four months and took fewer drugs or lower doses.”
DUH. .. . It’s almost comic that the writer then states: “So it was quite a surprise when the patients who had worked so hard to get their blood sugar low had a significantly higher death rate, the study investigators said.”
Someone should clue these researchers in on the fact that Type II diabetes is not caused by insufficient insulin in the blood. In fact, Type II diabetics pump out EXCESS insulin in a futile effort to increase cell uptake of the stuff because of resistance at the cell wall. Giving Type II patients insulin, Glucophage, Tolinase, etc. is the gasoline added to the fire.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
Comment# 28 links another story about this ACCORD study on diabetes with unexpected results.
Thanks for the ping.
I understand why insulin and tolinase(stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin) would be bad. But how does glucophage contribute to the problem? I thought glucophage was supposed to reduce insulin resistance.
Eskimos, for example, almost instantly develop Type II diabetes when they move to a Western (let's call it "Subtropical") diet with lots of starch.
Get them back on a sensible diet of seal, whale and fish, or fish products, and they're fine ~ the Type II diabetes just goes away as they simultaneously remove starch from their diet.
There are other groups or subgroups with a similar constitution ~ folks whose ancestors have lived on the tops of mountains for thousands of years, or in Arctic wastelands, or out on oceanic islands, or the Northwest European coastline ~ places where animal husbandry, sea mammal hunting and fishing were the primary sources of food.
Current federal laws regarding the hunting or importation of seal or other sea mammals deprive such folks of the opportunity to eat, for them, a healthy diet.
Beef is no real substitute.
Thanks for the pings!
The only one the didn’t make me feel like a creaky achy old man was quietly destroying my liver...
Thanks for the pings. Diabetes is a very complicated disease.
You are correct. I made that post very late in evening and didn’t notice the incorrect reference to Glucophage. I meant to say Tolinase, Orinase, etc., and should not have included metformin (Glucophage), which does not cause hyperinsulinemia according to its manufacturer. It works by improving uptake into the cells, i.e. it reduces insulin resistance.
Add me to the diabetes ping list, please?
I can, but it isn’t necessay because you’re on my health & science list.
Both lists on the same Microsoft Word page along with other lists in addition to the code and text for other links.
I’m not going to post or link a story on a diabetes related article without linking the health & science list.
Do you still want a double listing?