Losing weight soon after type 2 diabetes diagnosis doubles positive outcomes

August 12, 2008

People who lose weight soon after a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes have better control of their blood pressure and blood sugar, and are more likely to maintain that control even if they regain their weight, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published online in Diabetes Care, the American Diabetes Association journal.

This is the first clinical study to show that benefits remain even if patients regain their weight. The study followed more than 2,500 adults with type 2 diabetes for four years. Those who lost weight within an average of 18 months after diagnosis were up to twice as likely to achieve their blood pressure and blood sugar targets as those who didn't lose weight. Those benefits can prevent diabetes-related heart disease, blindness, nerve and kidney damage, and death.

"Our study shows that early weight loss can reduce the risk factors that so often lead to diabetes complications and death," says Dr. Adrianne Feldstein, MD, MS, the study's lead author, a practicing physician and an investigator at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. "We've known for a long time that weight loss is an important component in diabetes treatment and prevention. Now it appears there may be a critical window of opportunity following diagnosis in which some lasting gains can be achieved if people are willing to take immediate steps toward lifestyle changes."

More than 20 million Americans have type 2 diabetes and most of them are overweight or obese.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the four-year study conducted by Kaiser Permanente in Oregon and Washington followed 2,574 patients with type 2 diabetes between 1997 and 2002. Scientists followed the weight gain and loss patterns of these patients for three years, and then in the fourth year compared glucose control tests and blood pressure readings.

Most patients remained at about the same weight during the first three years of the study, but a small group of 314 patients lost an average of 23 pounds. This group was more likely to meet blood pressure and glucose targets during the fourth year even though, by that time, most of them had regained their weight.

"We don't know if the initial weight loss increased the body's sensitivity to insulin, or if the sustained lifestyle changes were the reason for the long-term health benefits," said Gregory A. Nichols, Ph.D., a study co-author at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research. "But we do know that losing weight reduces the risk factors that often lead to heart disease, blindness, nerve and kidney damage, amputations, and death in type 2 diabetes patients."

Although the study didn't examine specific methods for weight loss, prior studies conducted at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research have demonstrated effective weight loss strategies. One recent study reported that diabetic patients who had nutritional counseling were about twice as likely to lose weight. Another study found that people who keep food diaries lose twice as much weight as those who don't, and that people who attend support groups also lose more weight.

Source: Kaiser Permanente

Explore further: Team finds a better way to engineer therapeutic proteins into antibodies

Related Stories

Atomic view of bacterial enzymes that help human digestion

July 31, 2015

A group of researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada has reached deep into the human gut, plucked out a couple enzymes produced by bacteria residing there and determined their biological activities and ...

Health checks will be seated by Sharp

December 8, 2014

(Phys.org) —Sharp unveiled a news-making prototype of a sensor earlier this month at Semicon Japan 2014, which took place from Dec 3 to 5. As its title suggests, Sharp's "Blood Vessel Aging Degree Sensor" can measure the ...

Fat turns from diabetes foe to potential treatment

March 24, 2015

A new weapon in the war against type 2 diabetes is coming in an unexpected form: fat. Researchers have discovered a new class of potentially therapeutic lipids, called fatty-acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids (FAHFAs). These ...

Gold standard management of the diabetic cat

March 3, 2015

The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), the veterinary division of International Cat Care, has convened an expert panel of veterinary clinicians and academics to produce practical guidance to help veterinary ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.