About 95% of all diabetics have Type 2 diabetes, a condition that affects your body’s ability to convert sugar (glucose) into energy. While Type 1 diabetes isn’t curable, you may wonder if there’s a way to reverse this life-threatening health condition.
At the private practice of Beth and Howard Braver, MD, in Aventura and Hollywood, Florida, our board-certified internal medicine doctors are diabetes management experts who specialize in helping patients with our customized diabetes treatment plans.
We also know that by taking the reins of your health and making lifestyle changes, you can take control of your blood sugar.
Keep reading to learn how you can make changes that put you on the path toward reversing Type 2 diabetes.
How does Type 2 diabetes affect my body?
The foods you eat fuel your body by converting the sugar, or glucose, in them into energy. To make this happen, your pancreas produces insulin, which serves as a key that unlocks the conversion process.
When you have diabetes, your body either can’t make or can’t use insulin. This means your body can’t convert glucose, causing sugar levels in your blood to rise. This can lead to many problematic health issues, including coma and death.
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are the most common ways this disease manifests. But only about 5% of people have Type 1 diabetes. This type of diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that stops your body from making insulin and isn’t reversible.
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, isn’t an autoimmune disease. It’s the result of several factors, including your lifestyle and genes. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, people with Type 2 diabetes can make insulin but are resistant to it, meaning their body can’t use the hormone effectively.
This inability to use the insulin your body produces causes chronically high levels of blood glucose, which trigger your pancreas to make even more insulin. Over time, your insulin becomes less and less effective, eventually causing diabetes.
While Type 1 diabetes usually comes on suddenly, it takes time for Type 2 diabetes to develop. People generally move from being insulin-resistant to prediabetic before developing full-blown diabetes.
Symptoms appear so slowly that many people don’t know they have Type 2 diabetes until diagnosed by their provider.
Is Type 2 diabetes reversible?
To understand if Type 2 diabetes is reversible, it’s essential to understand the risk factors for the disease. Besides your age (being over 45), the factors that make it more likely you’ll develop Type 2 diabetes include:
- Being obese or overweight
- Leading a mostly sedentary lifestyle
- Having hypertension (even when managed)
- Having high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
- Having a family history of diabetes
- Having a personal history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Another risk factor for Type 2 diabetes is being diagnosed as insulin-resistant or prediabetic. At least 88 million American adults are prediabetic, and many don’t yet know it.
Reversing Type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes
But there’s good news. Insulin resistance, prediabetes, and Type 2 diabetes are reversible diseases. If you’re diagnosed with these conditions, improve your outlook by considering them an opportunity to reclaim your health.
Steps to reverse Type 2 diabetes and its related conditions include these lifestyle changes:
- Keeping track of your blood sugar levels (e.g., A1C test)
- Exercising regularly
- Making significant dietary changes
- Losing weight to attain a healthier body weight
- Quitting smoking if you smoke
- Avoiding alcohol and other beverages high in sugar
The dietary changes should include cutting out processed foods and eating more whole foods, especially fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, and healthy fats, like avocados, nuts and seeds.
For most people with Type 2 diabetes, the best treatment involves making the essential lifestyle changes described above. We work with you to create a realistic plan for adopting a healthy diet and incorporating regular physical activity in manageable steps.
Although these lifestyle interventions work well for most people with Type 2 diabetes, some people need medication or insulin. Whether or not your personalized treatment plan includes these added interventions, we monitor your condition and help you manage or reverse the disease.
To learn more about diabetes management and how we can help you reverse Type 2 diabetes, contact our Aventura or Hollywood, Florida, offices to schedule an appointment.