Ireland has been criticised for not investing enough in tackling type 2 diabetes – as the majority of patients could achieve remission if they had access to treatments.
The call to turn back the clock on the disease was made by IrSPEN, the Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, on World Diabetes Day (14.11.19)
IrSPEN spokesperson, Professor Carel le Roux, said “what was never imagined possible in the treatment of type 2 diabetes is now feasible.”
“Ireland has the opportunity to help vast numbers of people living with type 2 diabetes 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 many 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 around 15% of their total weight then that will allow 7 in every 10 people to go into remission. This level of weight loss can be achieved with diets in 20% of people, medications in 30% and with surgery in 90% of people”.
“The proven treatment options to achieve this, should be available to all citizens based upon need. Over 200,000 people live with the disease in Ireland and it is very expensive to treat, 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 diabetes patients into remission would not only save money but also vastly improve quality of life for a large number of people, reducing complications such as eye, kidney, nerve and heart problems”.
“We now have the opportunity to put type 2 diabetes into remission on a 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.”