Type 2 diabetes is associated with poor lifestyle choices – being overweight, inactive physically and eating unhealthy foods. For a long time diabetes was a diagnosis that would accompany people for the rest of their lives. However, now a team of scientists from UK say that it is not really incurable – effects of type 2 diabetes can actually be reversed.
Scientists from the University of Glasgow and Newcastle University say that patients should be informed that type 2 diabetes can actually be reversed. People juggle around the word “incurable”, which is an unproductive practice. Instead, doctors should inform patients about possibilities of bettering their lives by losing some weight. The simple truth is that most type 2 diabetes patients are overweight and losing around 15 kg would improve the quality of life significantly. Currently type 2 diabetes affects about 3.2 million people in the UK, which costs the healthcare system a ton of money every year. So what is the solution?
It looks like a simple change in the guidelines would help already. Currently patients are advised to look after their blood sugar levels by altering them with medication and general lifestyle changes, but people with type 2 diabetes are still expected to live 6 years shorter than healthy counterparts. Scientists say that weight loss should be included in the guidelines because dropping around 15 kg often produces total remission of type 2 diabetes. Not only this improves the life expectancy, but alleviates some other major health risks. However, at the moment remission is rarely observed – one study, conducted in US, found only 0.14% of 120,000 patients followed for seven years had reversed type 2 diabetes.
Why such a small percent? Well, for starters, it is not that easy to record remission. However, the big reason is that people rarely make that life change to lose those 15 kilograms. This could be changed for the better if guidelines for the patients included weight loss as an essential part of getting rid of type 2 diabetes. Coding is an issue as well – people who are no longer diabetic should be reclassified. Authors of the study said: “It is in everybody’s interest to reclassify people with type 2 diabetes when they become non-diabetic. Official guidelines and international consensus for recording diabetes in remission are needed”.
While you cannot judge people who struggle with their weight, losing 15 kg is really not that difficult, having in mind that it can bring such a large improvement in health. Not only life expectancy grows by 6 years, but those years would be filled with a better life quality than staying with diabetes.