We recognise that remission can be achieved in people previously diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
We've written an interim position statement about remission – we give you all the key points here and you can also download the full statement as a PDF.
We've produced this statement to help everyone understand what remission means and how some people get there, because there's a lot of inconsistency and confusion about it. And by everyone, we're talking about healthcare professionals, people with diabetes and the general public too.
We say remission is when someone's blood glucose levels are maintained at a normal range, without the use of diabetes medication to lower blood glucose levels. This doesn't mean the symptoms of diabetes can't come back and it's essential to keep having regular healthcare checks, such as retinal (eye) screening. There's currently no evidence to suggest that remission is permanent – that's why we don't call it a cure, or anything else that suggests it's a permanent situation.
- Type 2 diabetes remission is possible through intensive lifestyle changes or bariatric surgery (sometimes called weight loss surgery).
- We recognise that there are different criteria for defining diabetes remission, and will work with other experts to agree consistent criteria in the UK.
- The benefits of intensive lifestyle changes and bariatric surgery are huge, even if remission is not achieved. This may lead to someone being able to reduce or stop taking medications to lower their blood glucose levels, as well as it reducing the risk of developing other conditions.
- Everyone in remission should keep getting regular healthcare checks and ongoing support for self-management, specific to their needs. They should have these checks at least once a year – including eye screening.
- More research is needed to understand the long-term impact of remission on diabetes complications and the impact on local health economies.
To write this statement, we reviewed the evidence and spoke to a wide group of people – including people with diabetes, healthcare professionals and researchers. A wider group, including our Council of Healthcare Professionals (CHP), researchers and other clinicians were also asked to comment on the final draft. We still have more work to do in 2018.