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can diabetes be reversed?

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One Response to “can diabetes be reversed?”

  1. john e russo md facm faafp says:

    There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Although they both result in hyperglycemia (elevated blood glucose also known as blood ‘sugar’ although the latter may be a confusing term as there are many ‘sugars’ and here the predominant sugar is glucose) type 1 and type 2 are quite distinct. There has periodically been hope that type 1 diabetes could be prevented, none of the proposed interventions has been the least bit successful. Since type 1 diabetes is caused by death of the beta (insulin producing) cells in the pancreas, several ideas have arisen to repair or replace this damaged organ. Even transplantation of a pancreas has been attempted. Again – none of these interventions have been successful. I do not see a time in my lifetime when type 1 diabetes will be ‘cured’ or ‘reversed’. Type 2 diabetes is a different matter. Its pathophysiology is more complex. It is known that diet, weight loss (if the person is ‘obese’), and excercise ‘improves diabetic’ control in type 2 diabetes. There are even some who with diet, exercise, and weight loss have either avoided being started on medications or who have been withdrawn from medications. Unfortunately, this does not mean that the type 2 diabetes has been ‘reversed’. By the time of diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, approximately 50% of the beta cells of the pancreas have been destroyed. No intervention restores these cells. So even if diet, exercise, and weight loss succeeds – the person remains a diabetic. As with type 1 diabetes, there is no reason to believe that in my lifetime that type 2 diabetes will be ‘cursed’ or ‘reversed’. That does not mean that we are not trying. And ‘medical miracles’ do occur. In the absence of an unforseen ‘breakthrough’, I would say that neither type 1 nor type 2 diabetes will be ‘cured’ or ‘reversed’. On the good side, however, the options that we have in terms of insulin and oral medication has never been better. I would not wish diabetes on anyone, but if were to become a diabetic today, there is a great deal more than I am able to do for someone than I could do ten years ago. I wish you the very best of health and may God bless.

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