Lowering blood sugar levels too far when treating type 2 diabetes can be as dangerous as allowing it to remain high, according to UK researchers.
Cardiff University researchers looked at GP data on nearly 50,000 diabetes patients aged over 50, who had had their treatment regimen intensified to either a combination of oral therapies or a combination including insulin.
They compared all cause mortality between the two treatment groups.
They found the results showed a “u-shaped” pattern, with those with the lowest HbA1c levels (average 6.4 per cent) and the highest HbA1c levels (average 10.5 per cent) being the most likely to die from any cause.
The lowest mortality risk was associated with an HbA1c of about 7.5 per cent.
The authors said: “Low and high mean HbA1c values were associated with increased all-cause mortality and cardiac events. If confirmed, diabetes guidelines might need revision to include a minimum HbA1c value.”
Lead researcher Dr Craig Currie added: “Conventionally, doctors have always been told to drive down [HbA1c] as low as possible. It will come as a major surprise to many doctors that taking people down too far appears to be quite risky.”