Roughly 34.2 million people are living with diabetes in the US (10.5% of the population).
This number likely increases exponentially when adjusted for the many cases that go undiagnosed.
Although clinical care for the condition has advanced considerably in the last five years, ensuing literature has determined that the symptoms associated with diabetes can be mitigated by relevant lifestyle changes. In fact, according to a new study published in the Lancet journal of Diabetes and Endocrinology, the adverse effects linked to the former can be effectively reversed by diet and exercise in 61% of diagnosed patients.
“Type 2 diabetes is affecting people at an increasingly younger age, particularly in the Middle East and in north Africa,” the authors wrote in the paper. “We aimed to assess whether an intensive lifestyle intervention would lead to significant weight loss and improved glycaemia in young individuals with early diabetes.”
Effect of intensive lifestyle intervention on body weight and glycaemia in early type 2 diabetes
The researchers derived their results from clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of diet and exercise as a front-line measure for type 2 diabetes treatment.
Between July 16, 2017, and Sept 30, 2018, the authors enrolled and randomly assigned 158 participants into two separate groups. Seventy participants were sorted into an intervention program and 77 were placed in a control group.
The control group did not undertake non-traditional treatment options for metabolic disorders.
The intervention program was composed of an initial 12-week low-calorie diet known as the Cambridge Weight Plan. The participants subsequently spent an additional 12 weeks transitioning to a generally healthy diet that observed relative caloric control.
Moreover, each member of the intervention group was encouraged to complete at least 150 minutes of physical exercise per week, alongside a walking regimen that required at least 10,000 steps each day from its subscribers.
Impressively, two-thirds of the patients involved in the intervention program achieved complete disease remission after just 12 months of lifestyle interventions and normoglycemia (a normal concentration of sugar in the blood ) occurred in 30% of this same demographic.
These provisional lifestyle interventions even allowed a sizable proportion of young individuals involved in the study with early diabetes to enjoy improvements in cardiometabolic outcomes instructive of chronic illness.
Meanwhile, in the control group, five serious adverse events were reported in four participants, four admissions to a hospital occurred due to unanticipated events (supraventricular tachycardia, abdominal pain, pneumonia, and epididymal-orchitis), and one admission to a hospital was reported for an anticipated event (hyperglycemia).
The researchers are confident that these finds intimate long-term benefits for health and wellbeing in populations of all ages.
“We’re hoping that studies such as these can bring about a big change in the clinical approach to type 2 diabetes across the world – so that we will combine early screening with lifestyle interventions essentially to get rid of this condition straight away, instead of putting people on multiple medications for life,” explained Shahrad Taheri, from Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar.
CW Headley is a reporter for the Ladders and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org