If you have recently been diagnosed with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes, you may be able to completely halt its progression or even reverse the disease so that no medications are needed. Type 2 starts with resistance to insulin produced by your own body, not the lack of it as is the case with Type 1. In the early stages your pancreas may be working overtime in producing more insulin to lower your blood glucose levels because your body is not properly using the insulin being produced. Time is critical as Type 2 diabetics can eventually become Type 1 diabetics where their bodies can no longer produce insulin.
Understanding the Types of Diabetes
There used to be two basic classes of diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune condition where your own immune system kills off the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. It used to only be thought to happen in the young, and therefore was called juvenile onset diabetes. Type 2 was called age onset diabetes as it was normally associated with older people who had become sedentary. However, an overweight three-year-old in Texas was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic. The American obesity epidemic is adding to the 1.4 million new diagnoses of diabetes each year with many more with prediabetes remaining undiagnosed.
There are rarer forms of diabetes such as maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY) and latent autoimmune diabetes (LADA). MODY has many subtypes, and LADA is like Type 1 where cells that produce insulin are attacked, but it happens later in life. Up to 10 percent of those diagnosed with Type 2 may actually have LADA, which is sometimes referred to as Slim Type 2 or Type 1.5 diabetes. Type 1 requires insulin injections to make up for what is missing. The other types may be treated with oral medications or insulin to lower blood glucose levels to maintain them as near normal as possible for the long term. Some oral diabetes drugs cause your body to produce more insulin while others help your body to more efficiently use the insulin it is still making. If you have been diagnosed with Type 2, you may be able to reverse the disease through drastic lifestyle changes that include changing what you eat and how much you exercise.
Study Shows Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Is Possible
Thirty Type 2 diabetics were put on a very low calorie diet, and 12 of them were able to reach blood glucose targets that were normal without medication. The researchers from Newcastle University, the University of Glasgow, and Lagos University concluded that diabetes of the Type 2 variety “can now be understood to be a metabolic syndrome potentially reversible by substantial weight loss.” Key factors concerning the results indicated that younger people who had their diagnosis for the shortest amount of time achieved better results.
The main symptom of diabetes is elevated levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose is fuel that powers your brain, muscles and other cells. When it remains elevated in your bloodstream over time, damage to your blood vessels and tissues results. Diabetes almost immediately begins to cause blood vessel problems on a microvascular level. Elevated blood glucose also causes damage to nerves spread out all over your body. This can lead to anything from pain and burning in the feet to impotence. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, is one of the main side effects of long-term elevated glucose.
Drastic changes in lifestyle, such as altering dietary intake to include fewer calories and refined carbohydrates as well as increasing exercise, are shown to greatly contribute halting the progression of Type 2 or reversing it. Simply put, eating less but better food choices along with moving more can lead to not needing medications to control Type 2. Even if you still require medications to control blood glucose levels, controlling your diet and increasing exercise should permit you to get tighter control of your diabetes to lower your hemoglobin A1c level. This is important as each whole point drop in A1c is shown to reduce microvascular complication risk by 40 percent.