If you get type 2 diabetes, you often have to change your eating habits and take blood sugar-lowering medication or even inject insulin. A diabetologist now points out that the disease is not a one-way street: a sharp weight reduction increases the chance of getting well again.
Once diabetes, always diabetes: this was exactly a principle within medicine for a long time, writes Professor Stephan Martin, chief physician for diabetology and director of the West German Diabetes and Health Center (WDGZ) in Düsseldorf , in an article he published in the medical newspaper .
It is no secret that, in addition to other factors such as genetics and lack of exercise, obesity also plays a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. However, the fact that those affected can actually defeat the disease through targeted weight reduction was, according to Martin, up until a few years ago in medical circles at best dismissed as an isolated case.
Strong weight reduction leads to a decrease in symptoms
A rethink only arose as a result of the results of bariatric surgery – i.e. surgical interventions to reduce body weight, which resulted in high remission rates in type 2 diabetes. A study from England from 2019 then also showed that non-surgical interventions such as sustained weight loss led to remission of type 2 diabetes.
A new study from Quatar , which was published in the journal “Lancet” in June, also showed how targeted weight reduction resulted in lasting remission in the sick.
For this purpose, 147 people who suffered from type 2 diabetes under two years of age , had a body mass index of 35 kg / m² and some were already taking medication, were divided into two different test groups:
- One was treated according to the regular guidelines.
- The others on a strict diet consisting of liquid meals.
While the group lost an average of four kilograms with the regular measures, the kilograms fell by an average of twelve kilograms in the second group. A remission with normal long-term blood sugar values for at least three months was achieved in the first test group by only twelve percent; in the second, with the high weight reduction, an impressive 61 percent.
“Unfortunately, these interventions are not accepted in Germany”
According to Martin, it can be concluded from this study that a weight loss of ten kilograms gives those affected a 50 percent chance that the symptoms of diabetes will subside.
“Unfortunately, these interventions are not accepted in Germany,” criticizes the diabetologist. That is why they are not implemented systematically. The doctor points out, however, that doctors have a duty to inform patients about such measures.
“At least every person with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes should be told that if you manage to lose more than ten kilograms, you have a 50 percent chance of defeating diabetes,” he urges.