Achieving Remission from Type 2 Diabetes: Lowering the Risks of Heart and Kidney Disease

Study finds that individuals with type 2 diabetes who successfully achieve remission for any duration can decrease their chances of developing cardiovascular and chronic kidney disease.

Reversal of Type 2 diabetes reduces risk of heart and kidney disease

A woman wearing a glucose monitoring patch prepares to swim in a lake Source: Medical News Today

Did you know that people with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of experiencing both cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease? Well, here’s some good news for you: a recent study has discovered that individuals who achieve remission from type 2 diabetes can lower their rates of these diseases. That’s right, folks! Going into remission has been associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease and a 33% reduction in the risk of chronic kidney disease compared to those who only lost weight without experiencing remission.

The Study on Type 2 Diabetes Remission

The research, published in the journal Diabetologia, analyzed data from the Look AHEAD study. This study compared the long-term impacts of intensive lifestyle intervention with education and diabetes support. The researchers found that not only did those who achieved remission have lower rates of cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease, but the reduction in rates was even more significant for those who experienced longer-term remission. For instance, participants who achieved remission for at least four years had a 55% reduction in chronic kidney disease rates and a 49% reduction in cardiovascular disease rates.

Expert Opinions and Cautious Interpretations

While this study brings encouraging news for those who can achieve remission from type 2 diabetes, experts urge caution in interpreting the results. Dr. Jonathan Shaw, from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, states that although the analysis was done within a clinical trial, it is a non-randomized observational analysis. Therefore, other factors unrelated to remission could be affecting the lower risks of cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease.

The Challenge of Maintaining Remission

Maintaining remission from type 2 diabetes is undoubtedly challenging. A person is considered in remission if they have normal blood glucose levels without diabetes medications for at least three months. However, the study found that as time goes on, fewer people are able to maintain remission. By the eighth year, only 4% of individuals were still in remission. This highlights the difficulty individuals with type 2 diabetes face in keeping the weight off.

Dr. Marilyn Tan, an endocrinology specialist, emphasizes the importance of finding a sustainable diet that works in the long term. Extreme or restrictive diets may lead to short-term remission, but if the person stops the diet or regains weight, diabetes can return. It’s about adopting a whole new approach to food and exercise. However, there are also other non-modifiable risk factors that can contribute to the return of diabetes, such as genetics, medical conditions, medications, and age.

Any Period of Remission is Beneficial

While achieving remission may be more likely for individuals who have had diabetes for a shorter time, have a low starting level of average blood glucose, and have experienced significant weight loss, any period of remission has been found to lower the risks of chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and those with diabetes are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke at a younger age. Chronic kidney disease, on the other hand, affects 1 in 3 people living with diabetes, making it the 9th leading cause of death in the United States.

Q&A: Answering Your Burning Questions

Q: Can everyone achieve remission from type 2 diabetes? A: Remission may not be possible for every person with type 2 diabetes. While the study provides promising results, it is essential to understand that lifestyle changes leading to remission may be more manageable for some individuals. The changes required to achieve remission may be too great for others.

Q: What are the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease in individuals with type 2 diabetes? A: The main risk factors for cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease in individuals with type 2 diabetes include elevated blood glucose levels, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Managing these factors through lifestyle modifications is crucial to reducing the risks of these diseases.

Q: Is there a specific diet that can help achieve and maintain remission from type 2 diabetes? A: While some individuals may find success with more extreme or specific diets like ketogenic diets in the short term, it is crucial to find a diet that is sustainable in the long term. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and it is best to work with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized dietary plan based on individual needs and health goals.

For more information and resources on type 2 diabetes, remission, and related conditions, check out the following links:

Remember, achieving remission from type 2 diabetes is possible for some individuals, but even if remission is not achieved or maintained, any progress toward a healthy lifestyle and improved diabetes control is beneficial. So, let’s make those positive changes and take charge of our health!

If you found this information helpful, share it with your friends and family on social media. Together, we can spread awareness and improve the lives of those living with type 2 diabetes!

📚 Reference List: 1. Medical News Today 2. Look AHEAD Study

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