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 reduce their antihypertensive medication.
A weight management program, developed by researchers at Glasgow and Newcastle universities for UK-funded Diabetes DIabetes REmission Clinical Trial (DIRECT), has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the need for antihypertensive drugs, as well as to bring about remission in type 2 diabetes.
The program involves an initial 12 week period on a nutritionally complete diet (low calorie soups and shakes) which will induce weight loss of over 15kg if fully followed. Diabetes and blood pressure medications were stopped early and only resumed if blood sugar or blood pressure increased.
The weight loss phase is followed by an accompaniment to choose foods and eat wisely to maintain weight loss. Maintaining the weight loss of 15 kg has enabled 8 out of 10 people to be free from type 2 diabetes, without the need for diabetes medication for at least 2 years.
The researchers found that overall, average blood pressure dropped steadily as people lost weight. And the blood pressure remained lower after the end of the diet period.