Charity responds to research presented at EASD 2021

By Editor
1st October 2021
Diabetes UK, Research Type 1 diabetes Type 2 diabetes

Diabetes UK has responded to more research findings that have been presented at this year’s European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting. 

Research announced at the annual conference has sparked discussions about growing primary care needs of people with diabetes who have survived COVID-19, suggestions that weight loss of 15% or more should become a central focus of managing type 2 diabetes and a potential review into managing weight and preventing obesity in people with type 1 diabetes.

Responding to the first point, Policy Manager at Diabetes UK, Nikki Joule said: “People with diabetes have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with a third of Covid-19 deaths in England occurring in those with diabetes during the first wave of the pandemic.

“We know people with diabetes are at increased risk of serious illness and death from the virus and that their diabetes care continues to be severely disrupted as we emerge from the pandemic.”

She added: “Routine appointments are crucial for people to understand how their diabetes is being managed, get the support they need to keep themselves well, and reduce the risk of developing devastating complications.

“While we welcome the Government’s recent commitment to invest more in preventing type 2 diabetes, it must urgently address the backlog in routine diabetes care and ensure that people with diabetes can access the support they need, including psychological support and diabetes education.”

Dr Lucy Chambers, Head of Research Communications at Diabetes UK, responded to the following two discussion points about obesity and weight loss management schemes for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Talking about people with type 2 she said: “For people living with type 2 diabetes and obesity, or overweight, losing even a small amount of weight can be life changing. It can help people better manage their blood sugars and blood pressure and reduce their risk of developing diabetes complications like heart disease and sight loss, as well as boosting their wellbeing. For some, losing 10-15% of their bodyweight can mean that their type 2 diabetes goes into remission – so they no longer need to take medications to keep their blood sugars in the healthy range

“Diabetes UK’s landmark Counterpoint and DiRECT trials first showed that the function of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas can be restored by weight loss and that this is key to improving health and putting type 2 into remission. Weight loss in these trials was achieved through a low-calorie, weight loss programme, and we know other treatments, such as bariatric surgery, can also result in type 2 remission.”

She added: “Type 2 diabetes is serious and managing the condition can often take both a physical and emotional toll. People need support to live well with the condition, and the Government should continue to invest in weight management services, ensuring that everyone who could benefit can access this support.”

When responding to claims of a potential review looking into preventing obesity amongst people with type 1 she said: “Type 1 diabetes is a complex autoimmune condition, treated with insulin therapy. While insulin does not directly cause people to put on weight, the daily challenge of accurately dosing insulin to match food intake and physical activity can mean that weight gain can result from insulin treatment.”

“This research highlights some of the important factors in play when it comes to weight management for people with type 1 diabetes, such as fear of hypos which can sometimes lead people to consume more calories than they need.”

She concluded: “The findings also emphasise the importance of education around healthy eating, accurate carbohydrate counting and insulin dose adjustment. All people with type 1 diabetes should have access to support from healthcare professionals to help them manage their weight where appropriate.”

Founded in 1965, the EASD is a non-profit, medical scientific association that aims to encourage and support research in the field of diabetes. Each year, the organisation holds a meeting with more than 15,000 delegates from over 130 countries attending.

This year’s meeting began on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 and will end today (Friday, October 1, 2021). Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, EASD 2021 has been held virtually.

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