Short periods of diabetes remission linked to lower risk of heart attack and stroke

By Editor
13th February 2024
Cardiovascular disease, Research Type 2 diabetes Type 2 diabetes remission

People who put their type 2 diabetes into remission are 50 per cent less at risk of having a heart attack or stroke, latest research reveals. 

A new study from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has found that even short-term remission of type 2 diabetes is associated with long-term health benefits.

During the study, the team of researchers examined the health data of 60,287 individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Over an average of seven years, nearly 20 per cent achieved remission for at least six months without the help of medication or weight loss surgery.

The researchers found that those who achieved remission from type 2 diabetes, even for a short time, had a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.

In addition, the participants who achieved remission from type 2 diabetes had a much lower risk of large and small blood vessel complications, such as peripheral arterial disease and damage to the eyes and kidneys.

The authors said: “Primary care in the UK is an important context for the management of diabetes to prevent complications of the disease.

“Understanding these patterns of blood sugar level and remission over the course of the disease, and their impact on long-term health, could provide motivation for people with type 2 diabetes.”

They added: “It could also inform future targeted and personalised interventions for managing diabetes in primary care.”

Faye Riley, Research Communications Manager for Diabetes UK, said: “This study supports growing evidence suggesting that weight loss and remission from type 2 diabetes is linked with a lower risk of cardiovascular complications.

“Maintaining weight loss and staying in remission can be really challenging, and it is always possible that blood sugars levels can rise again. But these findings highlight that any time spent in remission with blood sugars levels below the diabetes range can have lasting benefits to health.”

Marie McDevitt, a public contributor from Stockport, said: “I think this research might motivate people with prediabetes and diabetes to try harder to achieve remission.

“It might also encourage health professionals to raise awareness of the benefits of glycaemic control among people with diabetes.”

Iskandar Idris, Professor of Diabetes & Metabolic Medicine from the University of Nottingham, said: “I have genuine concerns about the high risk of relapse following very low-calorie diets or following bariatric surgery.

“This study will enhance the importance of diabetes remission, even in the presence of relapse. The pause in excess exposure to glucose, even if temporary, appears to confer benefits in reducing risk of diabetes-related complications.”

The full study can be read here.

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