Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Remission of diabetes, desirable, but not essential


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Prediabetes

Mains level: Holistic Diabetes Management

Preventing Diabetes Complications & Health Problems

Central idea

The article highlights the importance of using precise terms like “remission” rather than “reversal” in discussing diabetes. It introduces the ABCDE criteria for potential remission, emphasizing factors like A1c, BMI, and duration. The author advocates a disciplined approach (ABCD: A1c, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Discipline) for a healthy life, addressing India’s substantial diabetes challenges.

Key Highlights:

  • Redefining ‘Reversal’: Dr. V. Mohan demystifies the trend of claiming ‘diabetes reversal,’ emphasizing the more accurate term ‘remission.’
    • Remission: Temporary relief or improvement from diabetes without a permanent cure.
  • ABCDE Criteria for Remission: Identification of crucial factors—A1c, BMI, C-Peptide, Duration, and Enthusiasm—that influence the likelihood of remission in type 2 diabetes.
    • A1c: Glycated hemoglobin, a measure of average blood sugar levels over the past three months.
    • BMI: Body Mass Index, a measure indicating body fat based on weight and height.
    • C-Peptide: A marker for insulin secretion, indicating the body’s ability to produce insulin.
    • Duration: Period of time since the onset of diabetes.
    • Enthusiasm: Eagerness and commitment towards achieving remission.
  • Legacy Effect: Recognizing the enduring benefits of achieving even short-term remission in diabetes and its role in preventing complications.
    • Legacy Effect: Long-lasting positive impact resulting from past actions or conditions.
  • Lifestyle Discipline: Advocating a disciplined lifestyle, with A1c below 7%, controlled blood pressure, and cholesterol as key components for a healthy life with diabetes.


  • Deceptive Claims: Cautioning against misleading claims by commercial entities promoting diabetes reversal.
  • Individual Variations: Highlighting the diverse likelihoods of achieving remission among individuals with type 2 diabetes.
  • Post-Remission Severity: Noting the common occurrence of increased diabetes severity upon its recurrence post-remission.
    • Post-Remission Severity: Worsening of diabetes conditions after a period of temporary relief.
  • Long-term Remission Challenges: Acknowledging the difficulty for a majority in achieving and sustaining long-term remission.

Key Phrases:

  • ABCDE Benchmark: Proposing the ABCDE criteria as a pivotal benchmark for assessing the potential for remission in type 2 diabetes.
  • Short-Term Remission Benefits: Underlining the lasting benefits, both physical and preventive, derived from short-term diabetes remission.
  • Disciplined Lifestyle Advocacy: Advocating for a disciplined lifestyle encompassing A1c control, blood pressure regulation, and cholesterol management.
  • Remission Duration Impact: Recognizing that even temporary remission contributes significantly to safeguarding against diabetes-related complications.


  • Holistic Diabetes Management: Dr. Mohan stresses the importance of holistic diabetes management that extends beyond the pursuit of remission.
    • Holistic Management: Comprehensive and integrated approach addressing various aspects of diabetes care.
  • Remission Realities: Acknowledging the challenge for many individuals to achieve and sustain long-term remission in type 2 diabetes.
  • Guidelines Adherence: Reinforcing the significance of adhering to ABCD guidelines for a healthy life despite diabetes.
  • Balancing Expectations: Encouraging a balanced perspective on diabetes management, considering the varied responses to remission efforts.

Key Data:

  • Diabetes Landscape: A snapshot of diabetes prevalence in India, with 101 million people diagnosed and 136 million in the prediabetes stage.
    • Diabetes Prevalence: The proportion of the population affected by diabetes.
  • Prediabetes Management: Recognizing the potential for delaying the onset of diabetes through lifestyle modifications in individuals with prediabetes.
    • Prediabetes: A condition preceding diabetes, indicating higher-than-normal blood sugar levels.

Key Facts:

  • Complications Risk: Highlighting the risks of sub-optimal diabetes control, contributing to severe complications.
  • Expert Insight Impact: Dr. Mohan’s insights, drawn from extensive experience, underscore the potential for a healthy life despite diabetes.
  • National Health Objective: Reinforcing the national health objective of achieving a ‘diabetes complications-free India.

Way Forward:

  • World Diabetes Day Pledge: Urging a renewed commitment on World Diabetes Day to prevent diabetes complications and promote overall well-being.
  • Dream of Complications-Free India: Aspiring toward realizing a ‘diabetes complications-free India’ by navigating existing challenges with determination and awareness.

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