Saturday 9 June 2012
Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Reversed?
We’ve heard that diabetes is a chronic progressive illness. You can’t get better, you have to get worse. The best you can do is slow it down. But at least five approaches now claim to “reverse” Type 2. What does that mean?
The official expert line on Type 2 has long been that people start by controlling the condition with diet and exercise. But they move fairly quickly to pills (like metformin), then to insulin or insulin plus pills. In recent years, insulin has been started more quickly, and new drugs like the incretin mimetics are changing the progression of treatment. But it is still thought that the disease progresses and can’t be stopped.
Being told you are “chronic progressive” is like having a curse put on you. It can sap your confidence and destroy your hope. But is it true? Dozens of Diabetes Self-Management readers say no. On a blog post by Diane Fennell about a study of low-carb diets in Sweden, peoplecommented eloquently on how they have gotten better by reducing carbohydrate intake.
Bob wrote: “By limiting carbs, my A1c dropped from an 8.6 to a most recent reading of 4.9. I also know people who eat whole-grain pasta, bread and have oatmeal every morning, because a doctor told them so, bemoaning their numbers.”
So how do they do it? Low-carb eating is one major way. Dr Richard K. Bernstein discovered and promoted this approach in his book Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution. Many others have followed. The British Web site Low Carb Diabetic asks, “Would you treat an alcoholic with more booze, or a drug addict with more heroin? Starchy carbs are poison to all diabetics.” The site’s authors (a mix of both Type 1s and Type 2s) claim they all have normal glucose numbers and that it wasn’t hard to accomplish.