Weight Loss within 6 years of Diagnosis might indicate the Remission of Type 2 Diabetes

Weight Loss within 6 years of Diagnosis might indicate the Remission of Type 2 Diabetes

There is no need for you to get disappointed if you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes recently because you can still get your health back.

Diabetes Mellitus type 2 is a long-term metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood sugar either due to a lack of insulin or insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone, produced by the beta cells of the pancreas, which is assigned the task of helping the assimilation of the glucose in the cells of the body. Diabetes is a worldwide disease that continues to affect more and more people around the globe. According to an estimate of the World Health Organization (WHO), as much as 422 million people are diagnosed with diabetes and nearly 90% of these patients belong to the Type 2 category.

It is an extremely complicated disease which can have serious complications, like heart diseases, kidney failures, and strokes, in the long run. The basic cause of this dangerous ailment is obesity. Therefore, it can be avoided to a certain extent through regular exercise and a healthy diet. Type 2 Diabetes is considered a lifelong condition which goes from bad to worse with time. The reason given for this was that the function of the beta cells is lost irreversibly and they cannot be repaired. Having said that, the results of the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) have shown that this is not entirely true. Talking about their findings, Roy Taylor, a Senior Author of the study, said,

“This observation carries potentially important implications for the initial clinical approach to management. At present, the early management of type 2 diabetes tends to involve a period of adjusting to the diagnosis plus pharmacotherapy with lifestyle changes, which in practice are modest. Our data suggest that substantial weight loss at the time of diagnosis is appropriate to rescue the beta cells.”

The people who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 6 years of the start of the study were selected to be a part of this research. All the participants of the study were randomly divided into two groups, intervention, and control group. The members of the intervention group followed an intensive weight management program due to which 46% of these participants lost a considerable amount of weight in a time span of 12 months. It was observed that they recovered and were able to control their blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, those who haven’t lost enough weight showed no improvement. However, some of the participants did lose weight but were unable to achieve the expected results. The team of Taylor analyzed all the relevant metabolic factors of both, responders and non-responders, to figure out a reason for this inconsistency. For sake of making a comparison, they examined pancreatic fat content, liver fat content, beta-cell function, and concentration of Triglycerides. Members of both the groups lost similar amounts of pancreatic fat, liver fat, and Triglycerides in the blood but some variations were observed in the beta-cell function.

According to the researches, only the responders showed signs of improvement in their beta-cell function. The major part of this difference was observed in the first phase of insulin secretion. When a human body detects an increase in the blood glucose concentration, the beta cells of the pancreas starts secreting insulin in a two-phase process. During the 1st phase, a sudden spike occurs which lasts for a period of around 10 minutes. The patients of type 2 diabetes are deprived of this secretion. The scientists observed that this phase of insulin secretion became operational in responders after weight loss but no change was detected in non-responders.

Similarly, they found another difference between the responders and the non-responders with respect to the duration of diabetes. It was observed that responders were diabetic for 2.7 years on average while this number went up to 3.8 years for the non-responders. Upon combining all the findings of this research, it was concluded that weight loss reduces the fat metabolism of every individual but a more rapid loss of the capacity of beta cells to recover prevents some patients from coming back to a non-diabetic state. Despite these results, the researching team acknowledged that they need further research before generalizing their findings. Taylor mentioned that in the following words:

“The knowledge of reversibility of type 2 diabetes, ultimately due to re-differentiation of pancreatic beta cells, will lead to further targeted work to improve understanding of this process. This provides a major focus for cell biologists to make specific advances.”

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