Posted on Jan 23, 2024, 5 p.m.
Few patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are able to achieve normal blood glucose levels through weight loss alone, according to a recent study published in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine led by Andrea Luk of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
This study involved 37,326 people who were newly diagnosed with T2D and were followed to see whether and how long they were able to control the disease through weight loss. The findings revealed that only 6% of people achieved remission solely through weight loss alone by around 8 years after diagnosis. Of those initially achieving remission, two-thirds had elevated blood glucose levels by 3 years after diagnosis.
It was noted that these rates are lower than in the clinical trials wherein remission occurred in up to 73% of participants at 1-year post-diagnosis. Additionally, those with the greatest weight loss in the first years were more likely to have sustained remission.
While this study does show that controlling T2D is possible through sustained weight loss in real-world settings, it also shows that few will achieve normal blood glucose levels through weight management alone, especially over the long term.
One of the reasons for the discrepancy with the clinical trials is that the participants received lifestyle interventions which included support for holistic dietary changes, mental health, and physical exercise.
The researchers concluded that T2D patients should be given early weight interventions to help increase the odds of achieving sustained remission, and their data suggests that early weight loss management interventions increase the odds of sustained remission and sustained lifestyle changes are likely to be paramount.
“Greater weight loss within the first year of diabetes diagnosis was associated with an increased likelihood of achieving diabetes remission. However, the incidence of diabetes remission was low with only 6% of people achieving remission over 8 years, and half of those with initial remission returned to hyperglycaemia within 3 years indicating poor sustainability of diabetes remission in real-world setting,” said Luk.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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References/Sources/Materials provided by:
Wu H, Yang A, Lau ESH, Zhang X, Fan B, Ma RCW, et al. (2024) 1-year weight change after diabetes diagnosis and long-term incidence and sustainability of remission of type 2 diabetes in real-world settings in Hong Kong: An observational cohort study. PLoS Med 21(1): e1004327. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1004327