Ten patients with type I diabetes mellitus were enrolled in a program of exercise and carbohydrate “control” using self-monitored glucose determinations and self-adjusted insulin. Glucose control was improved for the group, although normoglycemia was not uniformly achieved. Pulse volume measurements performed at the onset and after 8–10 mo documented a drop in systolic arm blood pressure with increases in the ankle-arm index (P < 0.001). Quadriceps biopsy was successfully performed at the beginning and after 8–10 mo for analysis of basement membrane thickening (BMT) in seven patients. Six patients showed a decrease in basement thickening on rebiopsy (P = 0.02). One patient showed increased BMT. This was the only patient to maintain a mean hemoglobin A1c of greater than 10% for the duration of the study. These observations indicate that abnormalities of BMT and pulse volume recordings may be more labile measurements than previously thought and may be amenable to therapeutic intervention. The relationship of these variables to the severe micro- and macrovascular sequelae of diabetes mellitus remains to be established.

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