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Moderation recommended for diabetes

Researchers have suggested that a moderate approach appears to the best solution to controlling blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes, as lowering it too far can be as dangerous as keeping it too high.

In a study published in The Lancet, the group from Cardiff University say diabetics should be kept on a course of oral drugs which increase the body's sensitivity to insulin for as long as possible - combined with diet and exercise - as this may be the safest way of controlling blood sugar.

The scientists also found sufferers who used insulin to get blood sugar levels down were 50% more likely to die during the study period as those who used a combination of oral drugs such as metformin and sulphonylurea, but this may be because those patients who need insulin tend to be older and sicker to start with.

Craig Currie, who led the study, said: "Conventionally, doctors have always been told to drive down blood sugar levels as low as possible. It will come as a major surprise to many that taking people down too far appears to be quite risky."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

The Lancet

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"What are the findings for persons with learning disabilities and mental health who are diabetics controlled on insulin? Clients with severe learning disabilities may dislike having small samples of blood taken even if they are very co-operative for administration of insulin. Should we be making more effort to look at 'moderation' in an area where educating is sometimes compounded by uninformed choices that clients with varying levels of mental capacity make" - Marie Joseph-Kerr

"That's true! Diabetes type 2 does not necessarily need to be controlled with large doses of drugs and keep it low. The mere healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise plays a very important role in controlling blood glucose to be normal not too low" - Patricia Mthimkulu, Hertfordshire