Millions of people suffering from Type 2 diabetes could be cured of the disease if they just lost weight, a new study suggests.
Scientists at Newcastle University have shown the disease is caused by fat accumulating in the pancreas and losing less than one gram from the organ can reverse the life-limiting illness and restore insulin production.
Type 2 diabetes affects 3.3 million people in England and Wales and, until now, was thought to be chronic. It can lead to blindness, stroke, kidney failure and limb amputation.“For people with Type 2 diabetes, losing weight allows them to drain excess fat out of the pancreas and allows function to return to normal”Professor Roy Taylor, Newcastle University
But now researchers at Newcastle have shown that the disease can be reversed, even in obese people who have had the condition for a long time.
18 obese people with Type 2 diabetes who were given gastric band surgery and put on a restricted diet for eight weeks were cured of their condition. During the trial the patients, aged between 25 and 65, lost an average of 2.2 stone, which was around 13 per cent of their body weight. Crucially they also lost 0.6 grams of fat from their pancreas, allowing the organ to secrete normal levels of insulin.