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Can My Type 2 Diabetes Be Reversed?

More than 38 million adults in the U.S. are living with diabetes, and up to 95% of them have Type 2 diabetes, which is related to insulin resistance. That number goes up to more than 120 million when accounting for people with prediabetes, the stage before Type 2 diabetes. 

In most cases, Type 2 diabetes develops gradually over the course of several years. If you catch it before or during the prediabetes stage and make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes, you can prevent it from progressing to Type 2 diabetes.

Once you have Type 2 diabetes, in some cases, it’s possible to achieve remission, but this requires aggressive diet and habit changes that must become a permanent part of your lifestyle. If you’re ready to make a change, the team of board-certified family medicine physicians at Health Solutions is here to help best manage your Type 2 diabetes

Can I reverse my Type 2 diabetes?

Currently there’s no cure for Type 2 diabetes. However, many patients who are highly motivated to make permanent changes have succeeded at drastically reducing or completely eliminating their need for medications like metformin and insulin. 

Why do I have Type 2 diabetes?

Insulin resistance is the driving factor in Type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a blood sugar regulating hormone. When it remains elevated for an extended period, the body’s cells become less sensitive to its effects, and blood sugar remains elevated.

This causes a vicious cycle where the pancreas responds by secreting more insulin in an effort to bring blood sugar down, leading to a constant cycle of high insulin. Over time, the pancreas is unable to keep up with demand, and blood sugar remains elevated. A diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes is made when A1C, a measurement of average blood sugar over the past three months, is 6.5% or above.

Restoring insulin sensitivity

Restoring insulin sensitivity is key to reversing Type 2 diabetes. Because your body releases insulin in response to the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood, managing carbohydrate intake plays an important role in restoring insulin sensitivity.

The goal is to limit how much and how often your body needs to release insulin. This is dictated in large part by the total amount of carbohydrates you eat per meal and per day, and the type of carbohydrate you eat.

High-glycemic carbohydrate foods like white rice, for example, are rapidly digested, causing blood sugar to rise high and fast. The body responds by releasing a large amount of insulin in an effort to bring levels down into a normal range. 

On the other hand, low glycemic foods such as lentils are rich in fiber and contain a good amount of protein, which slows their digestion. Because this means blood sugar rises gradually and minimally, the body doesn’t have to release a large amount of insulin.

Over time, as your body requires less insulin, cells become more sensitive to its effects and are better able to manage blood sugar. 

Low-glycemic, controlled carbohydrate diets are well-known to improve insulin sensitivity in people with and without Type 2 diabetes. Patients with Type 2 diabetes who adopted a low-carb diet for six months achieved remission of their Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the journal BMJ in 2021.

Weight loss and exercise

Weight loss has a powerful impact on improving insulin sensitivity and blood glucose management in people with Type 2 diabetes. Exercise also improves insulin sensitivity, and diet and exercise promote weight loss. 

Combining a low-glycemic, controlled-carbohydrate diet with exercise and other health-promoting habits like getting enough sleep and managing stress can help you achieve remission of your Type 2 diabetes. 

With offices in Tinley Park, Rockford, and Flossmoor, Illinois, as well as Munster, Indiana, our team can help you make the right changes to improve insulin sensitivity and glycemic control. For a thorough evaluation, give us a call to request a visit with a Health Solutions provider. Work with the Health Solutions team to get on the road to better health!

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