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Intensive lifestyle intervention 'could be key to managing type 2 diabetes'

Many medications are available for treating type 2 diabetes, but intensive lifestyle management could hold the key to controlling blood sugar levels, according to a recent clinical trial. The results of the study conducted in Denmark suggest adding "intensive" lifestyle management to traditional medication, for example, metformin, and the usual lifestyle change advice is highly effective in bringing blood sugar levels within the normal nondiabetic range.

Published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association (JAMA), the study was based on a randomized clinical trial of 98 adults with type 2 diabetes who had been diagnosed for less than ten years. Patients prescribed "intensive" lifestyle intervention exercised five to six times a week for between 30 and 60 minutes per session, participating in both endurance and resistance training. A dietary program designed to help patients lose weight emphasized high fiber foods and fruit while reducing saturated fat intake and cutting out processed food. 

The study found those who underwent intensive lifestyle management lost an average of 13 pounds and reduced their LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels far more effectively than the standard group. Three-quarters of those in the intensive group needed less diabetes medication after a year, compared to just one-quarter of those in the standard group. 

Mathias Ried-Larson, the senior researcher on the study, told HealthDay News: "I think this study calls for a thorough discussion about the resources we need to allocate to help people to adhere to a lifestyle treatment and what responsibility the society has in this regard."

The expert acknowledged the potentially high cost of intensive lifestyle management such as that prescribed in the study but observed many drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes were also very costly. He suggested a more balanced allocation of funds and resources to help patients treat their condition with lifestyle changes could prove beneficial and economically viable. et 

In August 2017, a report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggested most diabetic adults in the US are not meeting the recommended guidelines issued to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. These include lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly, good nutrition and proper weight management. The report also recommended use of drugs like statins to lower cholesterol, for example Caduet (amlodipine besylate, atorvastatin calcium). Other recommended drugs included aspirin, and medicine to lower blood sugar levels.