Diabetes prevalence has been escalating worldwide, and it is projected that diabetes cases will double in India by 2045. Although there's no cure for type 2 diabetes, research has shown that diabetes remission is possible for some people. Remission means having your blood sugar levels or blood glucose levels) below the diabetes range (HbA1c to less than 6.5%), for a minimum of three months without taking any diabetes medications. What do medical professionals think about diabetes reversal?
A staggering 71 per cent of doctors in India firmly believe in the possibility of diabetes remission, revealed a survey conducted by Practo, a digital healthcare company.
"Diabetes can't be reversed but it is definitely possible to put it into remission with weight loss," said Dr. Anusha N D, Consultant, Endocrinologist, Shanta Centre for Diabetes & Endocrinology.
The survey was conducted in April 2023 and included 260 diabetologists from different cities.
How you can achieve Type 2 Diabetes remission
According to Dr. Anusha, diabetes prevalence is increasing among young people nowadays due to their lifestyle and increased obesity. Diabetes remission is possible if one loses weight by focusing on diet and exercise. However, not everyone may achieve remission.
Yet weight loss has a lot of benefits for people with diabetes, including better lipid profile, fewer complications and better health. With weight loss, one can also decrease the dose of diabetic and hypertensive medications.
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The survey also highlighted a crucial gap in diabetes care delivery and the need for a structured support system for healthcare professionals to enable successful delivery of a diabetes remission plan to their patients.
Challenges in implementing diabetes remission
As revealed by the survey, healthcare professionals face several challenges in implementing diabetes remission in their patients.
Lack of access to a dietician or a structured diabetes remission program.
Patient's difficulty in adherence to diet and fitness plans.
Lack of support from the patient's family.
Limited resources to closely follow up on patient's progress.
Practo launces diabetes management and remission program
Practo has introduced a diabetes management and remission program, called 'Transform,' to help individuals with type 2 diabetes bring their blood sugar levels back to normal without medication. With its flagship programme, the company also aims to bridge the gap between medical professionals' belief in diabetes remission and the support system required for effective implementation.
It is a 6-month program that focuses on sustained habit and behaviour change.
Early results of Practo Transform programme showed that more than 88 per cent of patients with Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes reduced or stopped medications over the course of 6 months. On average, patients also experienced a 1.7-point reduction in HbA1c levels (8.4 to 6.6) and weight loss of 7.2kgs in the 6-month duration.
Highlighting the high diabetes rates among Indians, Dr. Hema Venkataraman, Medical Advisor, Practo Transform, emphasized the urgent need for the rollout of widespread prevention and remission programmes.
Practo's Transform programme brings together a multidisciplinary team of dieticians, fitness experts and healthcare professionals who work closely to help patients achieve weight loss and diabetes remission, and significantly reduce cardiovascular risk, Dr. Venkataraman added.