Intensive medical treatment can reverse type 2 diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes can be reversed…Data from a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism show that a short course of intensive lifestyle and medical treatment using oral medications and/or insulin may lead to drug-free remission of type 2 diabetes, at least in the short term.
Patients with type 2 diabetes of up to 3 years in duration were randomized to three groups: Standard diabetes care and intensive metabolic intervention: One group underwent the intensive metabolic intervention for 8 weeks, while the other was treated intensively for 16 weeks.

• In the intensive metabolic intervention, the participants were provided with a personalized exercise plan and a suggested meal plan that reduced their daily calorie intake by 500-750 calories a day. Their progress was regularly tracked and they also were given oral medications and insulin at bedtime to tightly manage their blood glucose levels.
• The control group received standard blood sugar management advice from their usual doctor along with standard lifestyle advice
After the intervention, individuals in both groups stopped taking diabetes medications and were encouraged to continue with lifestyle changes
Three months after the intervention was completed, 11 out of 27 individuals in the 16-week intervention group met HbA1c criteria for complete or partial diabetes remission, compared to four out of 28 individuals in the control group. Three months after finishing the 8-week intervention, six out of 28 individuals in that group met the same criteria for complete or partial diabetes remission.

Natalia McInnes, MD, MSc, FRCPC, of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and the first author of the study said, “These findings support the notion that type 2 diabetes can be reversed, at least in the short term not only with bariatric surgery, but with medical approaches.
Type 2 diabetes is a life-long progressive disorder and the findings of this study showing that the condition may be potentially reversible may motivate patients to adhere to the prescribed lifestyle changes and medications. The goal of managing a patient with type 2 diabetes could shift from achieving and maintaining glycemic control to inducing remission and then monitoring the patient for any signs of relapse
(Source: Endocrine Society Press Release, March 15, 2017)

Dr KK Aggarwal
National President IMA & HCFI