Microangiopathy is retarded by improved blood glucose control in patients with IDDM. Whether or not this is true for macroangiopathy (atherosclerosis) has remained unclear. A total of 59 patients (44 ± 1.5 years, previous HbA1c 9.4 ± 0.2%, mean ± SE) with IDDM were investigated. Of the 59 patients, 31 had been randomized to long-term intensified conventional insulin treatment (ICT), and the remaining 28 had received standard insulin treatment (ST). Blood glucose control was significantly better in the ICT patients with an HbA1c value (mean of 29 values during 10 years) of 7.1 ± 0.1% compared with the ST patients' 8.2 ± 0.2% (P < 0.0001). With high-frequency ultrasound, endothelial function was measured as flow-mediated dilation of the right brachial artery. The carotid arteries were scanned for plaques, intima-media thickness was measured, and arterial wall stiffness was calculated in the right common carotid artery. These measurements correlate with manifest and/or risk factors for coronary atherosclerosis. The patients in the ST group had stiffer arteries (P = 0.011) and thicker intima-media in the left common carotid artery (P = 0.009) than those in the ICT group. Patients with lower HbA1c generally had better endothelial function (P = 0.028) and less stiff arteries (P = 0.009). Better blood glucose control in patients with IDDM is related not only to less microangiopathy but also to a slower development of atherosclerosis.

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