One in 20 patients could reverse type 2 diabetes by changing their lifestyle, new study shows
- One in 20 people with type 2 diabetes could reverse it with a change in lifestyle
- Researchers analysed medical records of 162,000 people over 30 in Scotland
- The study found that almost five per cent of those people achieved remission
- For decades it was seen as incurable, but this gives hope to 4mill UK sufferers
By VICTORIA ALLEN SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 20:49 EDT, 2 November 2021 | UPDATED: 20:49 EDT, 2 November 2021
As many as one in 20 people with type 2 diabetes could reverse it with a change of lifestyle, says a major study.
Until now it appeared that only drastic stomach surgery or an extremely low-calorie diet of soups and shakes could have this effect.
But when researchers analysed the medical records of almost everyone in Scotland with a type 2 diagnosis up to 2019 – 162,000 people over 30 – they found almost 5 per cent had achieved remission.Dailymail.co.uk: News,
This is defined as maintaining normal blood-sugar level for at least a year without medication.+2
As many as one in 20 people with type 2 diabetes could reverse it with a change of lifestyle, says a major study (stock image)
Only a small proportion had undergone weight-loss surgery and the soups and shakes diet was not widely available on the NHS at the time of the study.
Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity, can lead to complications including sight loss and diabetic ulcers.
For decades it was seen as incurable, so the growing evidence that it can be reversed offers hope to more than four million UK sufferers.
The new study found people were far more likely to beat type 2 if they lost weight and almost one in five in remission had lost at least 15kg (more than two stone).
It also showed that people over 75 were most likely to achieve remission – possibly because they tend to get diabetes at a lower weight and with a lower blood sugar level so need don’t need to lose so much weight.
Although some may have lost weight through frailty or illness, over-75s were almost 50 per cent more likely to achieve remission than those between 45 and 54. Older women were more successful than older men.
People with lower blood sugar levels at diagnosis were also more likely to shake off diabetes.
Dr Mireille Captieux, who led the study from Edinburgh University, said: ‘We have been able to show, for the first time, that one in 20 people in Scotland with type 2 diabetes achieve remission.+2
The new study found people were far more likely to beat type 2 if they lost weight and almost one in five in remission had lost at least 15kg – more than two stone (stock image)
‘This is higher than expected and suggests many people may have been able to achieve remission without weight-loss surgery and meal-replacement diets.
‘It may be that they took action such as starting cycling or trying to eat more healthily, for example.’
By identifying the people most likely to overcome diabetes, the study authors hope doctors can pick out the patients who will particularly benefit from advice to lose weight and change lifestyle.
However those who achieve remission are advised to avoid weight gain, as there is a risk of type 2 coming back.
The study published in the journal PLOS Medicine found 7,710 of 162,316 people managed remission.
More than half were over 65 and nearly two-thirds had been diagnosed at least six years ago.
Diabetes expert Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle University said: ‘Every new piece of evidence that people can reverse their diabetes is important and immensely pleasing.’ADVERTISEMENT
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