New research has shown that if people achieve and maintain substantial weight loss to manage their type 2 diabetes, many can also effectively control their high blood pressure and stop or cut down on their anti-hypertensive medication.
A weight management programme, developed by researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Newcastle for the Diabetes UK-funded DIabetes REmission Clinical Trial (DIRECT), has proved effective at lowering blood pressure and reducing the need for anti-hypertensive medications, as well as bringing remission of type 2 diabetes.
The programme involves an initial 12 weeks on a nutritionally complete formula diet (low calorie soups and shakes) which will induce weight loss of over 15 kg if followed fully. Diabetes and blood pressure drugs were stopped at the start, and only re-started if blood sugar or blood pressure rose.
The weight loss phase is followed by support to choose foods and eat wisely for weight loss maintenance. Maintaining the 15 kg weight loss allowed 8 out of 10 people to become free from type 2 diabetes, without the need for diabetes medications for at least 2 years.
The researchers found that, overall, average blood pressure fell steadily as people lost weight. And blood pressure remained lower after the formula diet period finished.