Intensive treatment of type 2 diabetes can help extend a person’s life, no matter when the treatment begins. For the study, the researchers randomly selected participants who were at risk for type 2 diabetes complications. The subjects received either their regular treatment or aggressive multipronged treatment.
After two decades, those who were part of the aggressive treatment group were found to live longer. They were less likely to suffer from kidney disease, heart disease, and blindness. The only complication without any improvement was nerve damage caused by diabetes.
Study senior author Dr. Oluf Pedersen said, “Early, intensified intervention in type 2 diabetes patients with microalbuminuria with both target-driven pharmacological (medication) and behavioral actions increased life span. And, that extra life length is free from severe and feared complications.”
The intensive treatment involved statins or blood pressure lowering drugs, along with healthy lifestyle recommendations, which involved smoking cessation, diet adjustments, and exercise.
Further analysis demonstrated that statins made the biggest difference when it came to regular care versus intensive care.
As the study was conducted on Danish people, the researchers suggested that many Americans are not being properly treated for type 2 diabetes. The American population is more diverse, so it is hard to say whether the results of the study are translatable.