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Weight loss helps type 2 diabetes people to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease

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By David Liu, PHD

Wednesday Dec 28, 2011(foodconsumer.org) -- A study in the July 2011 issue of Diabetes Care finds that weight loss improves cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The study shows that weight loss in people with diabetes mellitus was associated with improvements in glycemia, blood pressure, triglycerides, and high density cholesterol.

Rena R. Wing of Brown Medical School and the Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island and colleagues conducted the clinical trial of 5,145 subjects with diabetes to see how the magnitude of weight loss would affect the risk factors of cardiovascular disease such as glycemia, high blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol.

Diabetics who lost 5 to 10 percent of weight at one year were 252 percent more likely to achieve a 0.5 percent point reduction in HbA1c, 48 percent more likely to a 5-mmHg decrease in diastolic blood pressure, 56 percent more likely to have a 5-mmHG decrease in the systolic blood pressure, and 60 percent more likely to increase HDL cholesterol by 5 mg/dL, 120 percent more likely to decrease triglycerides by 40 mg/dL, compared with those who did not lose weight at one year.

HbA1c is a measurement to indicate the condition of diabetes.  Glycemia means the level of blood sugar in the blood. Hyperglycemia means a high concentration of glucose in the blood while hypoglycemia means a low concentration.

Diabetes type 2 subjects who managed to lose 10 to 15 percent of their body weight at one year were more likely to have clinically significant improvements in most risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

However, weight loss was not correlated with any decrease in the low density cholesterol or commonly known as bad cholesterol, which is a typical cardiovascular disease risk factor, the researchers reported.

Type 2 diabetes is believed to affect 23 million Americans while cardiovascular disease kills nearly 1 million Americans each year.  Weight loss is believed to improve cardiovascular disease risk, but clinical trials like the current one intended to demonstrate how weight loss affects the the risk are rare.

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