Managing diabetes: new proof on targets for blood strain and blood glucose


Key messages:

1. Present proof doesn’t assist blood strain targets decrease than the usual targets for folks with raised blood strain and diabetes

2. Higher proof is required to information the selection between focusing on intensive or standard glycaemic management in folks with sort 2 diabetes however intensive management will increase the danger of each delicate and extreme low blood sugar

In the present day is World Diabetes Day and there’s a giant emphasis on understanding the issues of diabetes and attempting to keep away from them. Sustaining wholesome blood strain ranges and blood sugar ranges are vital methods to cut back the danger of injury to the guts and blood vessels, kidneys, nerves and eyes. We’ve got new proof from Cochrane systematic evaluations which helps shed some gentle on which approaches is likely to be finest relating to setting targets for blood strain and blood glucose ranges.

Blood strain targets: how low do you have to go? 

When treating hypertension (BP), docs and sufferers will wish to know what ranges they’re aiming for. For a while the recommendation has been goal of 140/90 mmHg is correct for the final inhabitants being handled for hypertension. The primary quantity, 140 right here, is the systolic blood strain (SBP) and the second, 90, the diastolic blood strain (DBP) and these are typically thought-about individually in scientific apply. The Nationwide Institute for Well being and Care Excellence recommends 140/90 mmHg because the goal BP ranges for these aged below eighty of their Hypertension Guideline, with no various advice for folks with diabetes.

blood pressure monitor

Are decrease blood strain targets higher than customary targets for diabetics?

Different tips have really useful decrease BP targets for diabetics, together with current European tips which advocate a goal decrease than 140/85mmHg. There was no constant proof to advocate a goal SBP of beneath 130 mmHg or DBP beneath 80 mmHg however there was proof DBP goal beneath 85 mmHg is useful for diabetics and the rule authors say DBP ranges of 80 to 85 mmHg are ‘protected and properly tolerated’ in all sufferers. There’s a temporary abstract of the rule findings, geared toward GPs, here.

An vital query is whether or not decrease BP targets for folks with diabetes would assist cut back issues and deaths. The Cochrane Hypertension Group has now printed a scientific overview (here) which regarded for proof from randomized managed trials (RCTs) which may assist reply this. They needed to understand how ‘decrease’ BP targets (any goal lower than 130/85 mmHg) in contrast with ‘customary’ BP targets (lower than 140 – 160/90 – 100 mmHg). They discovered 5 RCTs with 7314 folks, who have been adopted up for round 4 and a half years. This included a big trial with over four,700 folks, the ACCORD trial.

What did they discover?

  • The ACCORD trial is the one trial that has checked out what occurs when the goal SBP is below 130 mmHg. Making an attempt to realize a SBP of decrease than 120 mmHg as an alternative of decrease than 140 mmHg was related to a small discount in strokes. 91 folks would should be handled for four.7 years to stop one stroke
  • This decrease SBP goal was related to extra severe ‘antagonistic occasions’ or unwanted side effects/issues of remedy, with one extreme antagonistic occasion for each 50 folks handled intensively
  • There was no profit related to a ‘decrease’ DBP, evaluated within the remaining 4 trials

How good was the proof?

The reviewers say the ACCORD trial gives helpful data on SBP, although there are vital unanswered questions, equivalent to whether or not such tight BP management might be helpful if put in place early, whether or not the stability between dangers and advantages is likely to be acceptable for folks at particularly excessive threat of stroke, and whether or not a goal SBP of decrease than 130mmHg is likely to be higher than decrease than 120mmHg. The proof on severe antagonistic occasions and deaths was low high quality, with excessive threat of bias, and really low high quality within the trials taking a look at DBP. Future analysis is prone to change the outcomes.

In response to the National Diabetes Audit 2011 – 2012, printed final month, fewer than half of individuals with diabetes are assembly blood strain targets and there are worrying variations between totally different areas, with many individuals lacking the checks which ought to assist them handle their situation.

Intensive versus standard blood glucose management for sort 2 diabetes (T2D)

The Cochrane Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders Group has up to date the review on targeting intensive versus conventional glycaemic control in people with T2D and the overview now attracts on 28 RCTs with nearly 35,000 folks.

young man checking blood sugar

Intensive glycaemic management will increase the danger of low blood sugar

What did they discover?

  • No distinction between teams within the variety of deaths from any trigger or from coronary heart illness
  • No distinction in health-related high quality of life
  • No distinction within the threat of non-fatal stroke from surgical procedure to reconstruct broken blood vessels
  • Intensive management appeared to decrease the danger of non-fatal coronary heart assault, decrease limb amputation and injury to small blood vessels however improve the danger of significant issues of remedy and each delicate and extreme low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)

How good was the proof?

There was prime quality proof on hypoglycaemia, so we may be assured that intensive glycaemic management will increase the danger of each delicate and extreme low blood sugar. For all different outcomes, the danger of bias was excessive, so it’s potential that advantages have been overestimated and harms underestimated.

Annie Cooper, a nurse with sort 1 diabetes who writes an awesome weblog, has written a powerful piece this week about hypoglycaemic assaults and their penalties for her, within the form of concern, suits, incontinence and disgrace. I urge these of you who, like me, are nurses (okay, I haven’t practiced in years however can we ever lose the nurse in us?!) to go and browse it. I urge these of you who’re diabetic or reside or work with folks with diabetes to learn it. Then I urge everybody else to learn it. Many will relate to this, for various causes, and we must always all acquire a bit extra understanding, and perhaps a resolve to do one thing in a different way, for having performed so.


Nationwide Medical Guideline Centre, Nationwide Institute for Well being and Medical Excellence. Hypertension: the clinical management of primary hypertension in adults. London: Nationwide Medical Guideline Centre, Royal School of Physicians; 2011. (NICE CG127). [Issued August 2011]. Obtainable from URL:

Arguedas JA, Leiva V, Wright JM. Blood pressure targets for hypertension in people with diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Evaluations 2013, Concern 10. Artwork. No.: CD008277. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008277.pub2.

Cochrane abstract

OnMedica. Lower than 50% of diabetics obtain blood strain targets. 30th October 2013. Obtainable on-line [accessed 14th November 2013]

Hemmingsen B, Lund SS, Gluud C, Vaag A, Almdal TP, Hemmingsen C, Wetterslev J. Targeting intensive glycaemic control versus targeting conventional glycaemic control for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Evaluations 2013, Concern 11. Artwork. No.: CD008143. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008143.pub3.

Cochrane abstract

Weblog: anniecoops. The ideas of a nurse with sort 1 diabetes. The hardest thing to say. 11th November 2013.

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