Anyone see this MSNBC article about type 2 diabetes?

“Beating diabetes: Some do, but are they cured?
Scientists plan to study patients who control their blood sugar, kick meds”

What struck me about the article was this:
"This summer an American Diabetes Association task force will focus on this group of patients and whether they can be considered “cured.” Among the points of interest:

  • What blood sugar range qualifies as a cure and how long would it have to be maintained?
  • How might blood pressure and cholesterol, both linked to diabetes, figure into the equation?
  • And what if a “cured” diabetic’s blood sugar soars again?

“For right now, we’re not saying they’re cured, but the bottom line is … good glucose control, less infections,” said Sue McLaughlin, president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association. The organization has no estimate of how many people fall into that category."

I have to admit this worries me a bit. Right now, I’m well-managed through diet, exercise, and metformin. But what would be the a1c to be considered “cured?” Would I be denied metformin because my a1c is in the 5% range? If I were able to go off of metformin someday, would I still have coverage for regular a1c testing or blood glucose monitoring supplies? It seems to me that diabetes could very easily sneak back up on a person. Without monitoring, how would a “cured” person know that their blood sugar was back on the rise?

(P.S. Oh, and if this is already being discussed elsewhere, please direct me there. Thanks!)

I get a little flack from a couple of naysayers, but I’m one who, after years of being on Metformin, managed to get off of it in December 2007. It’s not simply diet and exercise, either. It’s a specific type of diet. One that avoids refined, manufactured, packaged, processed, and preserved carbs and sticks to the higher nutrient, natural ones. It’s not just exercising. It’s consistent daily exercise rain or shine, sick or fine. It’s raw determination and lots of raw, natural foods. And don’t let anyone tell you that raw, natural foods are boring or yucky. That’s complete nonsense. I enjoy everything I eat. I also enjoy getting out, watching the scenery, smelling the flowers, hearing the sounds, everything. Good, healthy living will help get a type two’s glucose under control more effectively than any drug, in my estimation. The good thing about all this is, I’m able to stray off my diet every now and then, have a drink or two, all without serious glucose swings. I also have more energy than ever.

If a person could eat the crap that most people eat and still keep their BG’s in the 80’s, I suppose they might be considered ‘cured’. Just because a person can control their BG without medication doesn’t equal a cure in my mind, although I don’t know if it does medically. it seems to me that if you are required to monitor on a daily basis a bodily function or condition that is autonomic in most people, you’re not cured.

Is a person who lowers their high cholesterol with diet and exercise cured? Or are they only cured if they once took medication and then were able to stop? Maybe ‘in remission’ is a better term.

Type one could be considered “autonomic”. Type two, which is what we’re talking about here, is more environmental and consequential.

High cholesterol is not a disease. It’s a so called “risk factor”.

This subject of the meaning of “cure” has been quite an issue with me ever since I tossed the Metformin, beat depression, and beat alcoholism. The definition, according to Merriam-Webster, is: "cure: 1 a: to restore to health, soundness, or normality b: to bring about recovery from ". This is precisely why, when I answer questions regarding a cure for (type two) diabetes, I always qualify my answer with, “Depends on how you define or interpret cure”. I have restored my body to perfect health, my resistance to disease and infection is excellent, and for all intents, I’m perfectly normal. Does this mean I can or will go back to the lifestyle that is causing two thirds of the population of this country to be ill? No… of course not. Being able to eat crap and stay healthy has little to do with this… because very, very few people can sustain that sort of lifestyle and live a full, normal life. Being able to live a normal life with the right diet and regular exercise, and little or no medical intervention, has everything to do with this.

Does all of this mean that I believe I’m “cured”? In one sense, sure it does. Does this mean that I believe I can return to the lifestyle that brought me here? No, it certainly does not.

Should type two diabetics be encouraged that, with the right diet and exercise program, there’s hope that they can live a full, normal life with a minimum of medical intervention by such a study? Absolutely! Will the majority of the population listen and follow those of us who have proven that it can be done? I doubt it. Too many obstacles are in their way… like this prevailing opinion that T2DM is a progressive disease. Does this mean that I’m going to give up telling anyone who’ll listen that there’s hope? No way.

well said Mr Peachy

You raise really good questions Pubsgal. I hope this discussion doesn’t go off track from these questions, about what the medical and insurance “community” will do when they think that people can be “cured” and that they then no longer have to have materials to test or drugs that got them to the “cure.”

Who knows? It seems like a lot of things here in the U.S. might be changing for us in the insurance arena. At least from what I hear. And what I hear I don’t really like.

Diabetes covers a wide range of metabolic symptoms. Every diabetic is a little different. Even 2 people with the exact same H1AC will react differently to diet and foods. I eat no processed food, exercise daily and do weight training. I wear a size 6. Still need to lose a few pounds and a few inches around the belly. I take metformin and think it helps keep my numbers low ( but they still aren’t in a normal range) I figure that I don’t have a lot of natural beta cells left producing insulin. I think the people they talk about being cured may be in very early stages of the disease. How many of us have gone on a new diet or medication to find our numbers drop drastically at first but then start to rebound after a few months.

Good reply Jeannie Wagner, There are so many variables that I don’t know which one is effecting my diabetes at any given time: diet, weight, current medication, exercise, stress, illness, etc. I’m a loose size 12 and I’m counting on a reduction in my bs if only I could drop a size. So in answer to your question: Yes, my bs numbers drop at first when starting a new diet, medication or exercise program, but then start to rebound within a week or two.

I’m glad this is being brought up. I am in this exact situation. I am well in control of my Diabetes using exercise, a middle of the road diet and no meds at all. My food intake today for example was an Arby’s Bacon Cheddar Roastburger with one bun removed, lunch was Piece of steak (6oz) a small cup of Shrimp and crab bisque, a small piece of cherry pie. Snack was Campbells soup in hand vegetable beef, Dinner another Bacon Cheddar roastburger and diet peach tea, I also stole a few of my daughters 4 to be exact potstickers, And for a late night snack some beefsteak nuggets… stole a tiny cookie. My blood glucose is usually 96-115 2 hrs after first bite of a meal. My recent A1C was 5.5 and I have been off Met for 7 months. Of course my readings are higher than a non diabetic but my exercise and so-so diet seem to be working well. I don’t feel like a diabetic. I just watch my carbs and try to keep it around 200grams a day and it seems to be working fine.

I recently increased my calorie intake another 300 cals a day or so and eat plenty of fatty foods. My bodyfat keeps dropping… I’m down to 8% and eating about 2000-2500 calories a day at a bodyweight of 138. I’m short though 5’6".
My blood pressure is very good as is my cholesterol and I have never had any symptoms or infections of any type.
If I continue to work out hard and not eat irresponsibly I thought I could consider myself cured to an extent. Every time I say something like that though it seems like many in the diabetic community freak out and give me the I will never be cured speech. What is your opinion?