Diabetes is a major global health concern, affecting mortality rates and the quality of life of those with the condition and their families.
There were an estimated 463 million people with diabetes in the world in 2019, of whom 90% to 95% have type 2 diabetes. By 2045, it is estimated that there will be 700 million people in the world with diabetes. Drivers to the global rise in diabetes prevalence include increasing numbers of people aged >65 years of age, urbanisation, increasing prevalence of obesity and improved survival of people with diabetes.
While numerous treatment options exist to control the disease, many people go beyond managing their illness to achieve remission.
New Research Study on Diabetes Remission
A new study by the Scottish Diabetes Research Network Epidemiology group, published in the journal PLoS Medicine evaluating the feasibility of type 2 diabetes remission in the general population.
The researchers calculated how many people were in remission of type 2 diabetes in 2019 in Scotland from a national type 2 diabetes register. This register contains 99% of people with diabetes in Scotland. After which they evaluated the characteristics of people who were in remission of type 2 diabetes compared to people who are not in remission and created a mathematical model that shows the probability of achieving remission.
Their results showed that about 1 in 20 people with type 2 diabetes in the study population were in remission of type 2 diabetes.
Compared with people who did not achieve remission, those who were on remission tended to be older, have a lower HbA1c at diagnosis, have never taken any glucose-lowering medication and have lost weight since the diagnosis of diabetes. Also, some have had bariatric surgery.
Conclusions of the Study
The study found that 7,710 of the study participants or around 5% were in remission from type 2 diabetes. The researchers defined remission as hemoglobin A1c levels less than 48 millimoles per mole (mmol/mol) after not using glucose-lowering medications for more than 365 consecutive days.
In addition to creating a baseline for future initiatives and studies, the information derived from this study indicates the importance of lifestyle choices and education in the treatment and possible prevention of the disease.
Their findings, according to the researchers, can be used to evaluate the impact of future initiatives on the prevalence of type 2 diabetes remission.
While these results are certainly encouraging, it is important to recognize that diabetes remission may not be permanent.
Mireille Captieux, et al. Epidemiology of type 2 diabetes remission in Scotland in 2019: A cross-sectional population-based study. PLoS Med 18(11): e1003828. https:// doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003828.
Leigh Ann Green. (2021, Nov 2) Around 5% of people may achieve remission from type 2 diabetes. Medical News Today. Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/around-5-percent-of-people-may-achieve-remission-from-type-2-diabetes