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Weight Loss After Diabetes Diagnosis Offers Big Benefits: Study
Date:8/12/2008

And the improvements in blood sugar and blood pressure last, even if weight comes back

TUESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics who lose weight soon after their diagnosis gain better control of their blood pressure and blood sugar, a benefit that lasts even if they regain that weight.

"If you lose weight after diagnosis, you can achieve some long-term benefits in terms of blood pressure and glycemic control that extend even beyond the point at which you regain weight," said Gregory A. Nichols, co-author of new research published online Aug. 12 in the journal Diabetes Care.

Added Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City: "We haven't had results like this before. This is telling us that with a significant mean weight loss of 10.7 kilograms [23.5 pounds] in 18 months, there's an improvement despite weight regain after 36 months."

More than 20 million Americans now have type 2 diabetes, and the majority are either overweight or obese.

Studies have shown that weight loss is important to maintain blood-sugar and blood-pressure control, as well as to keep cholesterol levels in check. These parameters, in turn, are critical for avoiding the long-term complications of diabetes, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney damage, amputations and even death.

Nichols, an investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., and his team looked at electronic medical records, spanning 1997 to 2002, for 2,574 patients aged 21 through 75 who had been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The participants were grouped into weight loss categories and followed for four years.

Just over 12 percent of the participants were in the "weight loss" group, with a mean weight loss of more than 25 pounds. Almost all of those pounds were regained by 36 months. The other groups were labeled as "higher stabl
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