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T2DM remission

Irish researchers report T2DM can be reversed with 15% weight loss

Reduction in cost of care associated with 15% weight loss and savings of €4000 per year per patient
One in four adults are obese and one in four children are overweight or obese in Ireland

The Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition & Metabolism (IrSPEN) is advising people living with type 2 diabetes and obesity that they can reverse or put their diabetes into remission, if they can lose 15% of their body weight. This even applies to the people who are on insulin, who have poor diabetes control and is independent of the starting BMI making this relevant to any person living with type 2 diabetes who has a BMI over 30.

“For people living with diabetes as a result of obesity, the disease usually requires the combination of specialist diets, specialist exercise and medication and or surgical treatments,” said Professor Carel le Roux from IrSPEN. “Not every patient responds equally to these treatments however reversal of complications such as diabetes can be achieved in two in ten people with the use of specialist diets, another three in ten with the use of medication and another five in ten with the use of surgical treatments.”

Ireland has one of the highest obesity rates in Europe and it affects more than one million people.  One in four adults are obese and one in four children are overweight or obese making them highly likely to become obese adults. Every year in Ireland approximately 2,000 deaths are attributable to obesity.  According to the WHO, 65% of the diabetes burden, 23% of the heart disease burden and between 7% and 41% of certain cancer burdens are attributable to overweight and obesity.

Not only does the reduction in weight result in clear benefits both to the people living with the condition, but also to the Department of Health in terms of savings to the health budget.  A clinical audit showed that the treatment of an obese person with difficult to control diabetes in Donegal is approximately €4,000 per year. However, after more than 15% weight loss following treatment at Letterkenny University Hospital, this cost reduced to approximately €500 per year in direct healthcare cost pertaining to their diabetes.  When applied to the number of people living with diabetes for whom this is possible, the state will make back all the money spent on the treatment within three to five years and start saving money each year after that.

The current cost of treating all obesity-related diseases in the Republic of Ireland is approximately €1.16 billion per annum, 35% of this cost is allocated to hospital care and medication costs and 65% is from indirect costs including productivity losses from absenteeism.

“This is a really positive message to people living with the condition to consider all of the options available to support them with this goal including diet, exercise, medication and surgery.” Said Mr John Conneely, Consultant Metabolic Surgeon, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. “A lifetime dependency on medicine can be removed and the person effectively will no longer experience symptoms associated with the disease. Ireland is now starting to lead the world in the clinical trials that are being offered to understand how the complications of obesity such as sleep apnoea and diabetes can be put into remission, we are very fortunate to be part of these developments”

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