Reducing the burden of long-term complications in type 2 diabetic patients remains a major task, and represents a huge challenge. Whilst tight glycemic control has been shown to reduce the risk of microvascular complications, controversy remains regarding the benefit of intensive treatment in relation to the prevention of cardiovascular events. Recent large trials (including ACCORD, ADVANCE, and VADT) were unable to show a significant impact of glycemic control on cardiovascular events. Also, it has been argued that these trials included patients with a long duration of the disease, and with previous unsatisfactory glycemic control. Chronic exposure to hyperglycemia may cause a kind of negative metabolic memory, and thereby reduce the potential impact of good glycemic control. This concept has been corroborated by the UKPDS which recruited only subjects with newly diagnosed diabetes and without prior cardiovascular events. In these patients, early achievement of glycemic control translated into a long-term reduction of the risk of micro- and macrovascular complications. This observation prompted the UKPDS investigators to propose a positive "glycemic legacy", supporting the need for early and appropriate treatment of hyperglycemia and associated metabolic disturbances. This should be feasible now through the selection of individual targets and personalized pharmacologic treatments. In doing so, the potential risks of intensive treatment might then be avoided.
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