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Early weight loss could help control Type 2 diabetes

People who lose weight soon after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have better control of their blood pressure and blood glucose levels and are more likely to maintain that control even if they regain their weight, say researchers in America.

The study, published online in the journal 'Diabetes Care', followed 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 glucose targets as those who didn't lose weight, according to the Kaiser Permanente researchers.

Most participants 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.

"The results of this study are interesting. However, we already know that Type 2 diabetes can be undetected for up to 12 years before it is diagnosed. Therefore, although the study measures the effect of early weight loss for four years from the point of diagnosis, we can't be certain how long participants actually had the condition before they began the study. It is possible that those who benefited most from the effects of weight loss soon after being diagnosed had only recently developed Type 2 diabetes. An early diagnosis gave them the best chance of effectively controlling it and reducing their risk of serious complications," said Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK. "Equally, those who did not benefit as much from 'early' weight loss may have had the progressive condition for longer, which could have made it more challenging to control. When you consider that around half of all people with Type 2 diabetes have signs of complications at diagnosis, you can see why early detection of the condition is vital. "Maintaining a healthy weight is key to good diabetes control. Eating a healthy balanced diet and taking regular physical activity is the best way of doing this. Poorly controlled diabetes increases the risk of serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation."

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