Does Type 2 Diabetes Remission Lower CKD Risk?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is common in people with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Getting your blood glucose levels back to normal is crucial in preventing and managing diabetes complications, including kidney disease. Learn more in this article about how managing T2D can preserve kidney function.1,2

How are T2D and CKD linked?

Kidney disease is a dangerous complication of T2D. About 40 percent of people with T2D develop CKD. If you have CKD and T2D, you are 3 times more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than people with T2D and normal kidney function.3,4

Featured Forum

View all responses caret icon

High blood glucose from diabetes damages blood vessels in the kidneys. Kidney damage is even worse if you have high blood pressure. CKD does not cause symptoms in the early stages. If you have T2D, it is critical to have your kidneys checked regularly.1,4

CKD can lead to end-stage kidney disease, also called kidney failure. Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure. To survive, people with kidney failure need dialysis or kidney transplant.3,5

What is remission from T2D?

Some people with T2D can achieve normal blood glucose levels and get off glucose-lowering medicine. When blood glucose levels are normal for at least 3 months without using glucose-lowering medicine, experts call it T2D remission.6

Remission of T2D most often occurs through weight loss. If remission is reached early in the course of T2D, it is possible for the body to recover normal insulin function. The long-term effects of remission are still being studied.6

Weight loss strategies that can lead to remission include:6

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medicine
  • Bariatric surgery

Long-term remission is possible. But it is critical to watch closely in case T2D comes back (recurs). Recurrence of T2D is common and can result from:2,6

  • Weight gain
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Decreased insulin production
  • Medicines like steroids or antipsychotics

How does remission from diabetes impact kidney disease?

Study results published in 2024 reveal the powerful benefits of T2D remission. Researchers looked at thousands of people with T2D and overweight or obesity over 12 years. Study participants were given either diabetes support and education or an intensive lifestyle intervention.2

The intensive lifestyle intervention group had:2

  • Frequent group and one-to-one support sessions to assist in meeting goals
  • Calorie intake of 1,200 to 1,800 calories daily
  • Reduced total and saturated fat intake
  • 175 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, like brisk walking
  • Liquid meal replacements in the first year to meet nutrition goals

The diabetes support and education group had:2

  • 3 group sessions each year
  • No one-to-one behavior support
  • Goals focused on diet, physical activity, and social support

Those in the intensive lifestyle group were 2 to 3 times more likely to achieve T2D remission. Remission was closely linked to weight loss.2

Remission was linked to a 30 percent lower rate of CKD and a 40 percent lower rate of heart and blood vessel disease. But the study revealed the difficulty of maintaining remission long-term. Remission rates decreased over time. The good news is, people who stayed in remission for at least 4 years cut their risk of CKD and heart disease in half.2

While challenging, T2D remission is possible. And it has added benefits. Managing blood sugar and other risk factors can support your kidney health and possibly prevent you from developing CKD. Work with your doctor to manage your T2D and monitor your kidney function.2

This or That

In addition to chronic kidney disease, do you also live with diabetes?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Do you suffer from fatigue due to CKD?