If you’ve been managing type 2 diabetes for a while, you know that current advice is to maintain your glucose levels at 7 percent or less, as this is where blood glucose levels are for non-diabetics.

A large observational trial published online this week, in Diabetes Care, however, raises questions about this long-held advice in people over the age of 60.

The new study published this week involved 71,092 people with type 2 diabetes who were all 60 years or older. As expected, the researchers found that those participants with very high blood sugar levels had higher risks of complications and death.

Surprisingly, however, they also found a modestly increased risk of death among those with the lowest blood sugar levels.

The in between group, those with well-managed blood sugar levels, had the lowest number of major complications and death.

The result seems to confirm a similar finding in the 2008 ACCORD (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes) trial. That trial involved people ranging in age from 40 to 70 and tested three strategies for reducing cardiovascular risk in people with type 2 diabetes. One of the strategies was intensive glucose-lowering to 6 percent or lower. That study was stopped early due to a higher rate of death among the older people in the intensive glucose-lowering group.

Courtesy of NIDDK

Your doctor is not likely to change your treatment based on a single study, but it may be something you want to discuss.

written by Michael O'Leary