A intense treatment regime involving oral medications, insulin, and lifestyle changes proved able to induce a 3 month remission in 40% of type 2 diabetics
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease caused by either or both, an inability to create enough insulin or a resistance to that insulin signalling - leading to high blood sugar levels and significantly increased disease risk. In the US alone approximately 29 million people have type 2 diabetes, and it represents a massive proportion of diabetes as a whole.
An intensive treatment course
Type 2 diabetes onset is influenced to a large degree by lifestyle choices, although not exclusively. To test whether lifestyle modifications together with medication and insulin injections might be able to induce remission in some patients, researchers collected 83 people and divided them into 3 different groups. Of these groups, 1 acted as a control group and 2 received either 8 or 16 weeks of dedicated exercise, personalised meal plans with reduced calorie intake and regular medical check ups. They also received usual insulin treatment and medications.
What was the result?
3 months after the end of the experiment, 11 of 27 patients in the 16 week group and 6 out of 28 in the 8 week group displayed total or partial remission. This was extremely encouraging, but it should be noted that a year after the treatment there was very little difference between the group - suggesting that any regime would have to be long term in order to yield results, and that a shift back to ordinary or unhealthy choices is likely to reverse any gains.
"The research might shift the paradigm of treating diabetes from simply controlling glucose to an approach where we induce remission and then monitor patients for any signs of relapse. We're looking forward to seeing the results in 2018. In the meantime, we encourage people with type 2 diabetes to follow a healthy diet that is low in sugar, saturated fats, and salt. We're starting to see mounting evidence that putting type 2 diabetes into remission is feasible"
Read more at Science Alert