Basics: duration of remission

So you’ve worked hard at controlling your T2 diabetes: you’ve lost weight, you exercise, you’ve lowered your fasting blood glucose, and you don’t spike as much when you eat. You’ve switched back to a normal human diet. you’re not using any medication, and everything is fine. Yay! You’re in remission. How long will it last?

It was announced at the DUKPC conference today that a 3 year follow-up of the DiRECT study has shown that 23% of the patients that were in remission at the end of the original study were still in remission. That’s 5 years today for these patients of tracked remission.

We don’t know yet why not all patients remained in remission because there hasn’t been peer-reviewed publication of the findings yet (it takes time to go through the journal process; when I did my PhD at the end of the 90s, it was often 8-9 months between submission and publication). Most likely, some people didn’t stick to the normal human diet and either went back to a bad high carb diet, or put weight on (the original DiRECt study did mention that putting weight on would most likely take patients out of remission).

There is an Australian study run by a surgery office on their patients that saw patients remaining in remission for 13 years. It’s not a peer-reviewed study, so consider it anecdotal. But it shows that at least in appearance, remission can last a long time. At 13 years, it can definitely be called reversal.

These results are encouraging and go against what most people have been told and repeat. This is hard data that shows not only that remission is possible through simple weight loss, which we’ve known since the 90s through bariatric surgery studies, but that it doesn’t require surgery and can last many years if you’re careful.

Of course you can’t go back to a high carb, high calorie diet. But that’s not a normal human diet. Be careful, eat well, avoid weight increase, and you can be diabetes free for a long time.

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