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Can an intensive lifestyle change reduce diabetes symptoms in patients with early type 2 diabetes?


Posted by Medivizor on Jun 23, 2020 in Diabetes mellitus |

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In a nutshell

This study examined if an intensive diet and exercise plan could reduce blood glucose levels and body weight of patients with early type 2 diabetes (T2D). The results showed that an intensive lifestyle change significantly reduced the number of patients with T2D and patients’ body weight.

Some background

The high blood glucose levels of T2D can lead to other health complications. These can be prevented and T2D can be reversed by reducing patients’ blood glucose levels. It is well established that exercise and diet can significantly improve patients’ symptoms. However, a serious overhaul of diet and exercise habits has not been investigated for younger patients diagnosed with T2D for 3 years or less.

Methods & findings

147 patients with T2D diagnosed in the previous 3 years, aged 18-50 were divided into two groups. 70 patients underwent an intense lifestyle change and 70 patients received the standard treatment. For the lifestyle change, patients were initially given meal replacement products followed by the gradual reintroduction of food. Patients’ results were monitored for 12 months.

HbA1c is a measurement of blood glucose levels for the previous 3 months. HbA1c levels reduced by 0.62% more in the lifestyle change group than the standard treatment group.  After 12 months, 6% of the lifestyle change group and 81% of the standard treatment group were taking medication for T2D.

Patients were 12.03 times more likely to achieve T2D remission (normal blood glucose levels without taking medication) with the intensive lifestyle change. After 12 months, 61% of the lifestyle change group and 12% of the standard treatment group achieved remission.

After 12 months, the average body weight loss in the lifestyle change group was 11.98 kg compared to 3.98 kg in the standard treatment group. Patients in the lifestyle change group also lost 6.97 cm more from their waist than the standard treatment group. Patients in the lifestyle change group lost 5.43 kg more body fat than the standard treatment group. 

After 12 months, fewer patients in the lifestyle change group (16%) were taking blood pressure medication than the standard treatment group (35%).

Patients’ quality of life increased by 4.03 points more in the lifestyle change group than the standard treatment group. 6% of patients in the standard treatment group and no patients in the lifestyle change group experienced side effects.

The bottom line

The authors concluded that an intensive lifestyle change improved patients’ T2D symptoms and overall health.

The fine print

This study involved a closely monitored lifestyle change. It is unclear how strictly patients would have followed the lifestyle plan if not monitored so frequently. This study would benefit from including more patients.  

Published By :

The lancet. Diabetes & endocrinology

Original Title :

Effect of intensive lifestyle intervention on bodyweight and glycaemia in early type 2 diabetes (DIADEM-I): an open-label, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial.

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