Reversing Diabetes is possible
Is Reversing Diabetes possible?
I had this question posed to me recently at a party I was attending and my usual answer to these questions has always been an emphatic NO!
“Diabetes is a chronic disease without a cure and commonly it is irreversible except in some special circumstances. Once you contract diabetes, the only option is to manage it and if you do that effectively you have a good chance of staving off those nasty long term complications.
When most people find out that I am diabetic and the proverbial questioning begins it always leads to that inevitable diabetes horror stories conclusion.
It is in our nature to overcome obstacles, to triumph over disease and to celebrate good health. When afflicted, it is more of a natural prospect to faithfully believe that we can be triumphant in reversing diabetes against all odds.
It is this belief that the unscrupulous will pounce on, hawking miracle cures and ancient remedies. Natural roots and berries, weight loss supplements that are guaranteed to help in reversing diabetes and to some degrees I must admit there is the temptation of being drawn into this world because the alternative life with diabetes can be overwhelming to bear.
Diabetes as a variable disorder of carbohydrate metabolism caused by a combination of hereditary and environmental factors and usually characterized by inadequate secretion or utilization of insulin.
A cure as recovery or relief from a disease, a complete or permanent solution or remedy to a disease.
Reversing diabetes would then entail actions that would result in creating a permanent relief from the disease.
In the beginning, I said that diabetes was reversible in some circumstances but it would seem that the stories behind diabetes reversal are the only ones placated by the media which in turn leaves many believing that this is the normal.
Again I have to stress that not all diabetes is curable or even reversible and the reasoning behind the notion described above is misleading and dangerous at best.
Here are a few real life methods of reversing diabetes and as stated earlier, these are not viable for every case.
Surgery as a cure for diabetes
1. Gastric bypass
For type 2 diabetics who are morbidly obese, Gastric bypass surgery and the resulting weightloss has been successful in instantly lowering their insulin requirements dramatically short term as well as eliminating the need for Insulin long term as all the weight falls off. But researchers are quick to point out that this is not termed a cure as many of those who have the surgery which is not permanent can gain the weight back and the diabetes comes roaring back as well.
Dr. Anna L. Marina, M.D., is a senior clinical research fellow in the division of metabolism, endocrinology, and nutrition of the University of Washington, she recently conducted a study on a 55-year-old man who was morbidly obese with a BMI of 45.2 and had type 2 diabetes for seven years.
The subject successfully underwent a gastric bypass operation. After the operation he was able to reduce his Insulin requirements from 100 units to 30 units a day.
After a few months, his weightloss was at an upward of more than 100 pounds and his A1C levels had dropped from 9 to 6.1 percent.
A great and very desirable achievement by any means, so he and his doctor decided that he didn’t need insulin any more.
After seven months things started to go horribly wrong, he started having post-meal blood glucose levels in the 180 mg/dl range.
Further testing showed his post-meal levels were often in the 200 to 294 mg/dl range.
and at this point, they had to place him back on the Insulin regiment.
In Another study by a Dr. Mitchell Roslin and two associates reported at last year’s annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Found that six out of these 38 people or 16% still had diabetes, this was after They performed glucose tolerance tests on 38 people more than six months after they had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.
Conclusion: Gastric bypass is successful in reversing diabetes in some morbidly obese diabetics, this is not a cure for everyone however.
2. Pancreas Transplant
Diabetes is the leading cause of ESRD (end stage renal disease) which essentially means that your kidneys shut down and the only alternative is getting a kidney transplant. While this helps in staving off the kidney disease, the dangerous effects of diabetes will still continue, the attack on other organs and blood vessels is still in full swing.
A solution is to do a pancreatic transplant as. The pancreatic transplant has significant side effects so it is not commonly prescribed to diabetics, in most cases it is done in conjunction with a kidney transplant.
Pancreatic operation will be successful in reversing diabetes but the significant risks associated with such a procedure makes it less viable and as a last resort alternative.
This falls under the honorable mention category.
Scottish doctors are using donated pancreas to harvest insulin producing Inset cells and inject them into type 1 diabetics and thus shift them away from daily insulin dependency.
Now this is pioneering surgery and it has just been launched but I am sure it is excellent news for diabetics world wide especially if this procedure can become available locally and cheaply.
As usual costs for this procedure have not been fully quantified, for this to work it requires liver and organ donations. Organ availability will always have to be an issue as it is at present with other tissues but we already have the donor registry infrastructure in place then after that it is simply an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia.
Will harvesting Insulin producing inset cells be successful in reversing diabetes, only time will tell.
Diet and exercise for reversing diabetes.
Checkout our diabetic diet and diabetes exercise page a lengthy delve into this discussion
Conclusion: Is Reversing diabetes possible? The simple answer to this question is yes, diabetes is certainly reversible in some cases, but the factors responsible for making this possible are in varying degrees, a few things to consider
- Weight Loss – If you are overweight or even obese, the fat deposits are making your body produce excess insulin for proper bodily functions. loosing the weight will most certainly aid in reducing the need for Insulin or the other diabetes medications.
- Exercise - Regular exercise benefits include a streamlined process of using the insulin your body produces and this will help in eliminating the need for synthetic drug help.
- Diet - diet alone will not reverse diabetes but a diet encompassing the limiting of carbohydrate intake will be helpful
- Supplements and natural cures – There is no known cure for diabetes and no one should tell you that a certain vitamin or herb will do this, while some herbs and vitamins will help control blood glucose levels, they should never be the only alternative to an effective diabetes management campaign.
- Insulin Resistance – The level of insulin resistance in an individual diabetic (type 2) will play a key role in determining what if any combination of medication, diet and exercise will be effective in reversing diabetes.
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