Dr Surajeet Kumar Patra, MBBS, MD, FDIAB, Director & Consultant Diabetologist, Diabetes Clinic, Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Type 2 Diabetes is a progressive disease and has been steadily increasing in India. The causes of type 2 diabetes are multifactorial, involving an interplay of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. While genetic predisposition plays a role, the rising incidence of type 2 diabetes is largely due to lifestyle factors such as sedentary behavior, unhealthy dietary choices, and the prevalence of obesity. Urbanization and the adoption of a Westernized lifestyle, characterized by a lack of physical activity and the consumption of processed foods, have contributed to the growing burden of diabetes in India.
“Diabetes Epidemic Surges in India: Urgent Call for Awareness and Prevention”
A recently published survey report highlights alarming statistics, that there are currently an estimated 101 million people in India living with diabetes, a substantial increase from the international available estimation of 74.2 million in 2021. And Type 2 diabetes accounts for over 90% of all diabetes cases in India. It may also be interesting to know that 1 in every 6 adults living with type 2 diabetes globally is an Indian. This dramatic surge in diabetes cases indicates a pressing need for awareness and preventive measures.
“Redefining Diabetes Management: Exploring the Concept of Diabetes Remission”
One of the prominent concerns with diabetes management is understanding if it can be reversed. Since reversal implies a permanent cure, a more apt term might be “diabetes remission”, sort of a temporary pause. Diabetes has not gone away. If one goes back to a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, stressful life, etc., the sugar spikes may increase, thus requiring medications again.
Understanding remission of Type 2 diabetes
Remission of diabetes refers to a state in which blood sugar levels and overall metabolic function return to normal or near-normal levels without the need for ongoing medication or insulin therapy. It can be achieved only in people with Type 2 Diabetes, when HbA1c (a measure of long-term blood glucose levels) remains below 6.5% for at least three months, without medications. Remission signifies a state of improved metabolic function, where blood sugar levels are well-managed without the need for medication or insulin.
“Unlocking Diabetes Remission: The Role of Weight Loss and Metabolic Rebalancing”
There is strong evidence that remission occurs due to the normalization of high fat-level inside the liver and pancreas and this can be achieved with major weight loss of 10-15% by following a low calorie diet. It’s also important to note that maintaining weight loss is crucial for sustaining diabetes remission. If one may regain the weight previously lost, diabetes will likely return.
But diabetes remission may not be for all people.
- It is most likely in people if, type 2 diabetes, has been for a short duration, diagnosed within 6 years and patients have been taking fewer diabetes medicines.
- If type 2 diabetes is existing for more than 10 years, it becomes harder to reach a state of remission
- Diabetes complications or co-morbid health conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, vision problems, mental health issues, etc. also make it difficult to attain remission.
- People with anxiety or depression are less likely to achieve remission from diabetes since they tend to lose lesser weight.
“Empowering Diabetes Management: Collaborating with a Diabetologist for Remission Strategies”
People with diabetes should seek help from a diabetologist to manage the condition efficiently. It may help to know the possibilities of achieving long periods of remission with the treating diabetologist.