Type 2 Diabetes: New Treatment Can Extend Life by Eight Years

Thanks to a long-term Danish follow-up study, scientists have concluded that comprehensive and intense treatment for type 2 diabetics can increase a patient's life by up to eight years.

This study, published in Diabetologia followed up on the 1993 Steno-2 study. In the Steno-2 a group of 160 people with type 2 diabetes were randomized and treated with either a conventional treatment plan or an intensified treatment plan. The initial study ended after eight years.

Now, 21 years later, Dr. Peter Gaede of the Slagelse Hospital and University of Southern Denmark has reached out to those initial test subjects to see how their treatment plans impacted their diabetes in the long term.

Updated Findings

“In previous reports from the Steno-2 study we have demonstrated the unprecedented efficacy of this structured multifactorial intervention,” says study co-author Dr. Jens Oellgaard. It was reasonable to hypothesize that those patients who underwent the intensified treatment would have better lifespan.

Of the 160 people Gaede and Oellgaard followed up with, “38 intensive-therapy patients had died, compared to 55 conventional-therapy patients” - indicating to the researchers that the intensified treatment plan lead to a 45 percent chance of a longer lifespan. The intensive-therapy patients also had a decreased risk of organ failure, and those who had passed away had lived about eight years longer than the conventional-therapy patients.

What Does This Mean For Diabetes Treatment?

“The outcome of our study is very encouraging and emphasises the need for early and intensified treatment of multiple modifiable risk factors for a poor prognosis of patients with type 2 diabetes,” Peter Gaede said in a statement.

The Steno-2 study has been followed up before; in fact, the last follow-up study in 2008 lead to new international guidelines for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in general. As the evidence mounts in favor of intensified treatment for type 2 diabetics, the medical community will be able to help those of us living with type 2 diabetes.

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