Several medical providers have told an elderly relative that his T2D was probably not reversed through his (isocaloric) low-carb diet, rather that T2D generally goes away on its own in the elderly. That last phrase is the point of my question.

How much substance is there to this claim that diabetes can go away “on its own” in the elderly, not due to dietary changes (intentional or otherwise)?

  • 3
    This could be a telephone game phenomenon. Do you think you could edit your question to focus on the medical science question directly? (e.g., in what ways, other than disease progression, is DM different in the elderly), rather than, did my (relative's) doctor do or say the wrong thing. Ideally, you would include what you have learned from your research.
    – De Novo
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 6:01
  • It very well could be that phenomenon, but it was three different individuals in two different states, and I was present to hear what was said and verify what they meant. So the telephone game would have to be between the providers and their upstream source of information. Whether it is backed by medical science, or based on a corruption of it, I don’t know, so I’m not clear what other tack I could take.
    – lionel
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 6:24
  • I think I wasn't clear with my comment. Generally, a Skeptics.SE style question (re: my (or my relative's) medical providers claim this, please debunk) is not a good MedicalSciences.SE question, per the linked meta discussion in my original comment. If you could edit your question to focus on your medical science question, rather on a claim some medical providers made, you're more likely to get an answer. Again, ideally you would include what you have learned from your research.
    – De Novo
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 1:05
  • I've edited your question to try and save it because I think it's an interesting question. But if you read the link @DeNovo pointed you to, you'll see that the community agrees we should close your question because it asks us to judge other doctors' opinions based on your secondhand interpretation of their judgement. What would make it even more interesting is if you edited it further to ask what the mechanism might be behind such a phenomenon.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 1:38
  • @CareyGregory Thanks for your assistance! I saw the link when first mentioned here: I was was never asking for judgement of any medical opinions. Though the question arose in a context that included an opinion in a specific case, it’s very much intended as a question about the medical science, not its application in clinical practice. Did the context made it seem more like a “is their judgement right” question rather than a medical science question? My initial searches turned up no evidence of the phenomenon, and I wanted to write a useful question regardless of whether it truly exists or not.
    – lionel
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 7:03

1 Answer 1


There seems to be no scientific evidence to support the claim that diabetes type 2 generally goes away on its own (without drugs, diet or weight loss) in the elderly.

According to one analytical article in BMJ, 2017, remission of diabetes type 2 is "currently very rarely achieved or recorded."

In elderly, remission may be slightly more common. In a large cohort study (Diabetes Care, 2014), "1.5% of individuals with diabetes type 2 not treated with bariatric surgery or drugs (but treated with diet or weight loss) achieved at least partial remission over a 7-year period. Remission occured in 2.2% of individuals 65 years or older (table 4).

In one randomized clinical trial (PubMed, 2012), intensive lifestyle intervention, including exercise, diet and weight loss, resulted in at least partial remission in 11.5% of individuals with diabetes type 2 within the 1st year of the intervention.

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