Is Diabetes Reversible?

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Is Diabetes Reversible?

Over 11% of Americans have diabetes, a chronic medical condition that increases the risks of serious and even life-threatening complications, including blindness and kidney failure. About 90%-95% of those people have type 2 diabetes, a type that’s acquired.

Diabetes interferes with the way your body makes or uses insulin, a hormone that helps your body regulate blood sugar (glucose). While diabetes can be managed, many wonder if the condition can be reversed. The answer: Sometimes.

A leading family practice doctor in Lakeland, Florida, Sergio B. Seoane, MD, offers comprehensive treatment for diabetes, as well as guidance to help people reverse the signs and symptoms of diabetes. Here, learn how and when diabetes can be reversed, so you can take steps to improve the way you manage your health.

Type 1 diabetes vs. type 2 diabetes

First, it’s important to note that there are two primary types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. (A third type, gestational diabetes, occurs during pregnancy.)

Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that happens when your immune system attacks and destroys the cells that make insulin. Type 2 is a metabolic condition that happens when your body’s production or use of insulin “malfunctions.” 

Both type 1 and type 2 cause high levels of glucose. But while type 2 diabetes may be “reversed” (or placed in remission), type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition requiring vigilant, ongoing management.

Reversing type 2 diabetes

It’s also important to know that, while the high levels of glucose and dysfunctional insulin response can be controlled in many people with type 2 diabetes, the condition cannot truly be “cured.” However, with proper management, you may be able to “reverse” the effects of type 2 diabetes and reduce the risks of complications. It may be more appropriate to think of diabetes reversal as a type of remission.

So what can you do to achieve remission? 

1. Adopt — and maintain — a healthy eating plan

Limiting sugars, refined carbs, and unhealthy fats is important for maintaining an ideal balance between glucose and insulin. Eliminate processed foods and junk foods, and opt for whole grains, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables (without sauces), lean proteins, and low-fat dairy, instead.

2. Adopt — and maintain — a regular exercise routine

Being physically inactive makes it harder to control your weight and it also interferes with the way your body uses insulin. Make physical activity part of your everyday routine with simple changes, like a brisk half-hour walk after lunch or dinner. Swimming, dancing, and bicycling are good activities, too.

3. Manage your weight

Being overweight or obese alters the way your body makes and uses insulin. The previous two tips — healthy eating and regular exercise — are essential for maintaining a healthy weight. Dr. Seoane can recommend additional ways to lose excess pounds successfully.

4. Optimize sleep

Getting too little sleep makes it harder to manage your diabetes symptoms and regulate your glucose levels. It also contributes to insulin resistance and unhealthy eating patterns. You can find some simple sleep tips on the CDC website.

5. Learn to manage stress

Stress doesn’t just raise your blood pressure and your heart rate — it can raise your blood sugar level, too. Take some time each day to unwind, and incorporate simple de-stressing activities into your routine. Mindfulness exercises and focused breathing are two simple ways to manage stress throughout your day. 

6. Use medications as prescribed

Today, there are several promising medications that can help you manage your glucose levels and keep them within healthy ranges. It’s important to use these medications exactly as prescribed in order to achieve these benefits.

Find out more about diabetes management

Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires a custom management plan to reduce complications and enjoy better health. To learn how we can help you manage your diabetes and potentially reverse its effects, call 863-644-2204 or request an appointment online with Dr. Seoane today.