Another result of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial Research Group has been published in the April 1995 Annals of Internal Medicine. The researchers concluded that intensive diabetes therapy markedly delays or prevents the development of neuropathy, which is a disease of the nervous system.
The controlled clinical trial tested the nerve functioning in over 1400 type I patients. Approximately half of the patients received “intensive therapy,” which consisted of three or more daily insulin injections or continuous insulin infusion, guided by four or more glucose tests each day. This regimen was designed to keep glycemic levels as close to normal as possible. The second group received a more conventional therapy, with only one or two insulin injections per day.
After five years of follow-up, it was confirmed that the intensive therapy reduced the development of confirmed clinical neuropathy by 64%. The researchers also tested the subjects for any type of abnormal nerve conduction and found that intensive therapy reduced the prevalence of abnormalities. Finally, they measured nerve conduction velocities and determined that the velocities remained stable with intensive therapy but decreased significantly with conventional therapy.
The DCCT’s conclusion affects everyone with diabetes: keep your glucose as close to normal as possible and you will notably reduce your chance of developing neuropathy.