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Thirty years of data from international trials show that the rate of serious complications amongst people with type 1 diabetes is lower that was has been reported historically.

Researchers from the JDRF-funded Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) and the Epidemiology of Diabetes Intervention and Complications Trial (EDIC) have analysed the incidence of long-term type 1 diabetes complications amongst trial participants and found that the rate of type 1 diabetes complications has changed dramatically, particularly for people who intensively manage their condition.

Researchers announced that the incidence of type 1 diabetes complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy and cardiovascular disease were significantly lower in the group that used intensive therapy to manage their type 1 diabetes.

In the case of the DCCT trial participants, intensive therapy was defined as use of insulin pump or three or more insulin injections, blood sugar monitoring at least four times per day and monthly visits to their diabetes healthcare team.

The researchers believe that with more people using intensive therapy, the rate of complications amongst people with type 1 diabetes should continue to decline to less than 50% of the levels seen at the start of these trials.

Treatment innovations such as insulin pumps and insulin analogues, increased understanding of type 1 diabetes management, and improved treatment of co-occurring symptoms such as high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol have also contributed to this change.

Arch Intern Med 169(14):1307-16

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