New study questions Type 2 diabetes treatment
Kelly Crowe is a medical sciences correspondent for CBC News, specializing in health and biomedical research. She joined CBC in 1991, and has spent 25 years reporting on a wide range of national news and current affairs, with a particular interest in science and medicine.
It's a curious case of missing evidence. When a diabetes specialist searched the medical literature looking for proof to support the use of glucose-lowering drugs for Type 2 diabetes, he couldn't find it.
That absence of evidence raises questions about one of the most firmly entrenched beliefs in modern medicine — that tightly controlling elevated blood sugar will reduce the risk of death, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and other dire outcomes associated with Type 2 diabetes.
"Does controlling your sugars reduce the risk of complications?" Dr. Victor Montori, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., asked in a paper released this month in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. "Most experts say yes. The evidence appears to say 'not so fast.'"
Conventional wisdom challenged
Right now, millions of people are taking glucose-lowering drugs, routinely pricking their finger to check their blood sugar level, and fretting over test results that aren't as low as their doctor wants them to be in hopes of avoiding the dire outcomes associated with the disease.
But with the drugs comes the risk of side-effects including weight gain and, if blood sugar falls too low, dizziness, coma or even death.
Add to that the distress of being branded with a "disease" based on a routine blood test, even t Continue reading