World Diabetes Day 2017 – November 14th, 2019

World Diabetes Day 2017 – November 14th, 2019

Call to offer remission pathway to all with type 2 diabetes 

New treatments can achieve disease reversal for most patients with type 2 diabetes

Ireland has been criticised for not investing enough in tackling type 2 diabetes – as many patients could achieve remission if they had access to new treatments.

The call to turn back the clock on the disease, which affects more than 200,000 people in Ireland, was made today by IrSPEN, the Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism on World Diabetes Day 2019 (Thursday, 14/11/2019).

IrSPEN spokesperson Professor Carel le Roux said what was never imagined possible in the treatment of type 2 diabetes is now feasible.

“We have the opportunity to help vast numbers of people living with the condition to go into remission. Type 2 diabetes was always thought to be a chronic and progressive disease, but with advances in medical treatments the disease can in a large number of cases now be reversed.

“We have evidence from major trials which show that if a person with type 2 diabetes can lose 2-3 stone or 15% of their total weight then that will allow 70% of people to go into remission. This level of weight loss can be achieved with diets in 20% of people, medications in 30% and surgery in 90% of people”.

“The proven treatment options to achieve this, should be available to all citizens based upon need. With over 200,000 people living with the disease in Ireland it is very expensive for the health service, costing the HSE 11 cents in every Euro it spends on healthcare. By not providing treatments, the HSE ends up paying much more for the long-term complications of chronic diabetes.”

Professor le Roux said bringing type 2 diabetes patients into remission would also vastly improve quality of life for a large number of people, reducing complications such as eye, kidney, nerve and heart problems. “We have the opportunity to put type 2 diabetes into remission on a major population scale and should fully commit to doing so,” he said.

Consultant Surgeon at St. Vincent’s University Hospital and IrSPEN member Professor Helen Heneghan said Ireland has been at the forefront of developing the evidence base for surgical treatments which have proven to achieve remission of diabetes, yet they are not available to most people who would benefit from them.

“Remission of type 2 diabetes should be a priority for the HSE, similar to what is happening in other European countries. The HSE should resource people with type 2 diabetes to access the care that will give them this opportunity.

“We can’t yet predict how patients will respond to different treatments, but by having multiple options available we can find the treatment solution for each individual and transform their lives.”