Around one in twenty people in Scotland diagnosed with type 2 diabetes achieve remission from the disease, according to research publishing November 2nd in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine. This suggests people are achieving remission outside of research trials and without bariatric surgery. Recognising individuals in remission, following their progress, and better understanding the factors involved in remission could lead to improved initiatives to help others.
There were an estimated 463 million people with diabetes in the world in 2019, of whom 90-95% have type 2 diabetes, and these numbers are rising due to ageing populations, growing obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Some people with type 2 diabetes have achieved remission after bariatric surgery, or after taking part in a research trial of a very low-calorie diet, but it is unknown how many people in the general population are in remission. Using a national register of people with type 2 diabetes in Scotland, Mireille Captieux at the University of Edinburgh and colleagues estimated how many people were in remission in 2019 and described the characteristics of those in remission and not in remission.
Of 162,316 patients aged over 30 years who were eligible for the analysis, 7,710 — around 5% — were in remission in 2019. Individuals in remission tend to have not previously taken glucose lowering medication; have lost weight since their diagnosis; be older; have lower blood sugar levels at diagnosis; or have had bariatric surgery. Understanding how many individuals are in remission as well as their characteristics creates a baseline against which to evaluate future initiatives and studies. It could also help clinicians identify patients with whom to discuss remission and weight management options.
Captieux adds, “We have been able to show, for the first time, that 1 in 20 people in Scotland with type 2 diabetes achieve remission. This is higher than expected and indicates a need for updated guidelines to support clinicians in recognising and supporting these individuals.”
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper in PLOS Medicine: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003828
Citation: Captieux M, Fleetwood K, Kennon B, Sattar N, Lindsay R, Guthrie B, et al. (2021) Epidemiology of type 2 diabetes remission in Scotland in 2019: A cross-sectional population-based study. PLoS Med 18(11): e1003828. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003828
Author Country: United Kingdom
Funding: MC was was funded by Chief Scientist Office CAF 18/12 (https://www.cso.scot.nhs.uk/personal-awards-initiative/clinical-academic-fellowships/). The funders had no role in the study design, data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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Competing Interests: I have read the journal’s policy and the authors of this manuscript have the following competing interests: BK is national lead for diabetes and chair of the Scottish Diabetes Group which sits directly within the Clinical Priorities team at Scottish Government, member of the Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Oversight group which is a Scottish Government related group, speciality adviser to Chief Medical Officer for diabetes and endocrine. RL has served on advisory boards with Novo Nordisk, Lily and Servier only NS has consulted for Amgen, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, and Sanofi, and received grant support from Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis and Roche, outside the submitted work.