Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be a shock and many people want to know, “is there a cure for diabetes?” Unfortunately, the answer to this is not as simple as yes or no… here’s an explanation.
It’s important to first learn what type 2 diabetes is. The pancreas secretes insulin, which allows sugar in the blood to enter cells and be used as energy. In type 2 diabetes, the cells become resistant to insulin, and sugar builds up in the blood. Over time, the pancreas begins to make less insulin and blood sugar levels need to be managed through diet and, in some cases, medication to avoid the complications caused by diabetes.
So… can type 2 diabetes be cured? There are studies that suggest that in the early stages (within the first 4 years of diagnosis), proper management of blood sugar through diet and exercise can affect the symptoms of diabetes and even bring A1c levels back into the normal range. This can effectively reverse the progression of the disease. Keeping fasting blood glucose and A1c levels within the normal range for a year is considered to be a remission, but it’s important to note that one should definitely continue to follow the diabetes diet and exercise guidelines.
One study showed that a significant weight loss could actually return insulin production to normal in people who have had type 2 diabetes for four years or less. Losing weight and building more muscle may be the most important factors in reversing the course of type 2 diabetes. (Although it’s important to note that not all people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, and there are other factors such as genetics that cause diabetes.)
A reversal, or what some call a remission (no signs or symptoms of the disease), is not necessarily a “cure’ for type 2 diabetes, which is a serious chronic condition. The most important thing (whether you have type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes or are in “remission”) is to keep blood sugar levels where they should be. This is the key to preventing the complications of type 2 diabetes, and is generally achieved through a program of diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.
While not all people can expect a reversal of their type 2 diabetes by losing weight, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, these three things are also the most effective ways to manage blood sugar levels and avoid the complications of type 2 diabetes. So, whether or not you have diabetes, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and staying at a healthy weight are the three things to focus on for living a long, healthy life.