It wasn’t long ago that researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Newcastle in the UK challenged the convention that type 2 diabetes – diabetes that comes on in adulthood – is a lifelong condition that’s irreversible.
Using a low-calorie weight management program, they showed for some, that the diagnosis can be shelved.
In fact, researcher Mike Lean, Professor of Human Nutrition and a physician from the University of Glasgow says the early results have been very promising.
“Approximately half of our patients were able to get to that point at one year, and about a third of them are still there at two years.”
Now those researchers have found more encouraging signs. The high blood pressure that often goes along with type 2 diabetes may be helped as well, with some patients no longer needing medication.
“Hypertension is another big killing disease which we shouldn’t ignore. About a third of our patients were able to stop their blood pressure tablets and stayed off them for at least two years,” Professor Lean said.
Here in Australia, experts have taken notice with the low-calorie program now being used in Sydney as well as in remote communities where people are at greater risk.
Dr Sam Heard, Medical Director at the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress has been working with people in the community to trial this low-calorie program.
Dr Heard says that its early days and those who have managed to stay on it and are very positive about it.
“One 40-year-old fella describing it to a large group of Aboriginal people at a meeting received a standing ovation, and they could see the difference in his whole demeanour and how much weight he’d lost.
“Some people have lost nearly 30 kilograms. We have huge demand now to make this available more widely,” he added.
Professor of Medicine at Campbelltown Hospital in New South Wales, David Simmons, is seeing patients have the same success through this low-calorie approach. and highlights that GPs are playing a vital role.