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Intensive Blood Sugar Control Doesn't Prevent Strokes In Diabetics

Update Date: Sep 20, 2014 04:12 PM EDT

Intensively lowering blood pressure has a long-lasting effect in preventing heart attacks, strokes and deaths, but intensive blood sugar control doesn't  produce those benefits, according to a new research. 

The research followed nearly 8,500 participants of a completed diabetes trials. 

"One of the points of doing this study was to see if lowering blood sugar for five years might, down the track, translate into protection against stroke and heart attack-it didn't," said researcher Dr. Bruce Neal, a professor of medicine at the University of Sydney in Australia, in the press release.

Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. According to U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, many diabetics have other risk factors for heart attack and stroke, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and excess weight.

The original study-dubbed the ADVANCE study-"showed clearly that you got these great benefits from blood pressure reduction and you also got some benefit from blood sugar lowering," Neal said.

Dr. Simon Heller, a professor of clinical diabetes at the University of Sheffield in England, said in the press release that it wasn't surprising that the benefit of intensive blood pressure control lasts beyond the period of intense control, although it may wane as the years go by.

"Blood sugar lowering is not apparently very good at reducing heart attacks or strokes, although it is very effective in reducing the risk of nasty diabetic complications such as diabetic eye disease, nerve damage and most important of all, kidney damage," Heller added.

The report was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

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