A new study out of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar has found that an “intensive” year-long program successfully sent type-2 diabetes into remission for 61-percent of the participants, highlighting a potentially very effective treatment option. Rather than focusing on drugs, the protocol involved an overall lifestyle, tasking the participants with eating a low-calorie diet, losing weight, and more.
Type-2 diabetes, also called adult-onset diabetes, affects millions of people and is often linked to lifestyle, including obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise. Treatment comes in the form of medication and insulin, but lifestyle changes are encouraged as part of one’s management of their disease. The new study finds that with the right changes, most people could send type-2 diabetes into remission.
The standard treatment for type-2 diabetes centers medicine as its core element with lifestyle changes coming second. The study tasked some participants with the new intensive lifestyle intervention and the rest with following this standard treatment. The difference between the two was stark, according to the researchers.
Participants who received the standard treatment lost an average of 9lbs after one year and 12-percent no longer had diabetes after the year was over. In comparison, the intensive lifestyle modification group experienced an average weight loss of 26lbs and 61-percent of participants reversed their type-2 diabetes after one year.
Of note, the study involved 158 patients and most of them were men. As well, the average weight of the participants at the start of the study was 223lbs; they all had type-2 diabetes for fewer than three years, as well, highlighting the importance of early intervention. Intensive lifestyle changes included getting a minimum of 10,000 steps a day and at least 150 minutes of weekly exercise.
Dr. Shahrad Taheri, the study’s principal investigator, explained:
I think it’s a real game-changer for the management of type 2 diabetes. It shows that if you lose weight early enough in the disease process, you can actually reverse the disease, and thus avoid all the other health issues and quality of life reductions that come with it.