November is American Diabetes Month! This month, we hope to give you with resources to help manage and even kick diabetes to the curb. If you’ve had your type 2 diabetes diagnosis for a while, you’ve probably accepted it and learned a great deal about treating it. However, perhaps you don’t have to just accept your diagnosis. Exciting new research shows that it may be easier than you think to put type 2 diabetes into remission.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a metabolic condition. It is characterized by the body’s inability to sufficiently process glucose (sugar). Consequently, blood sugar levels for T2D patients are persistently high.
Diabetes affects a staggering 30 million people in the United States. 1 If unmonitored, it may also lead to various complications, including hypertension, vision problems, and hyperglycemia.
Most often, doctors prescribe medication and dietary changes to help patients control T2D.
Remission, however, is possible for some patients. Remission refers to a disappearance or even a decrease of symptoms. It even allows people to cease treatment when achieved.
How can remission from type 2 diabetes be achieved?
Weight loss is a known factor to aid a patient’s ability to enter remission from T2D.
For example, those struggling with T2D and obesity sometimes experience remission from diabetes following weight loss surgery.
In 2016, a different study demonstrated that diabetics who followed an intensive low-calorie diet for 8 weeks could also experience remission. 2
Are such demanding dietary restrictions necessary, however? That is what a research team from the University of Cambridge sought to find out.
Moderate weight loss may be sufficient
The findings of this study appeared in the journal Diabetic Medicine. The team analyzed data from 867 people aged 40–69. The participants of this study were also newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics.
In addition, all of these individuals had previously enrolled in a study that assesses the effectiveness of diabetes screening.
The researchers gathered data on the individuals for 5 years. The team then discovered that 30% of the participants experienced T2D remission at the end of the study. Furthermore, participants who achieved at least 10% weight loss in the first 5 years following their diagnosis were more than twice as likely to enter remission within that period, compared to those who had not lost weight.
Weight loss “worth a try”
For diabetics who are also overweight, weight loss does not promise a cure but is still worth a try. While the study mentioned does offer more hope for T2D patients, other studies have shown that remission rates are lower.
For example, another study of 10,059 patients with type 2 diabetes found that only 4.97% of participants had achieved remission at the end of an 8 year period. 3
However, if we had known this when 30 million Americans received their T2D diagnosis, 1.5 million Americans could be living in remission.
Do you need help managing your diabetes? We would love to assist you. Reach out to Diabetes Education at Lawton Community Health Center today.
1 American Diabetes Association. Statistics About Diabetes. 2017.
2 Sarah Steven, Kieren G. Hollingsworth, Ahmad Al-Mrabe, et al. American Diabetes Association.Very Low-Calorie Diet and 6 Months of Weight Stability in Type 2 Diabetes: Pathophysiological Changes in Responders and Nonresponders. May 2016.
3 Srikanth Tangelloju, Bert B. Little,1, Robert J. Esterhay, et al. Front Public Health. Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) “Remission” in Non-bariatric Patients 65 Years and Older. 2019.
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