Can you reverse diabetes?

I just came back from my doctor’s appointment and I’m frustrated. I have lost 75 pounds and continue to lose. My A1c is 5.7 and dropping and my readings are all within normal range. When I was diagnosed with diabetes by readings were very high, but I have never had readings that would be considered abnormal for even a non-diabetic since then. My goal is to use diet and exercise to stop medications. (I’m also on meds for blood pressure, but that averages about 118/70). At the doctor I asked about stopping meds at some point, and he said probably not. He said that I’m better off staying on them probably for life and he may want to add a statin even if I continue down this positive path. I am not a doctor, but I disagree. In my mind, if I were not on medication and all my tests and readings were at normal ranges for a non-diabetic person, would I not then have reversed diabetes? I am only 32 years old and want to get off all meds. He won’t take me off blood pressure meds either because he says that because I’m diabetic, the meds can help my kidneys. I just don’t get it. Any thoughts?

When I don’t take my BP medicine—and I have low blood pressure–my feet don’t feel quite as good. That med is for keeping the little blood lines clear, and there is good research on its extending lifespan for all diabetics. So, I’m keeping the little white pill, even if my low blood pressure doesn’t indicate it. My status as a diabetic does. Since there was a period of time when my blood sugar was high, some damage was done (even if it’s not obvious to me now). Preventing further damage is in my best interests. But frankly, if my feet didn’t feel better w/ it, I wouldn’t be convinced. And I have, technically, no feet problems yet.

I know two people that have been able to go off their diabetic meds by following a very strict diet, losing weight and exercise. They have both been off meds for about 6 months. Their endro tells them they more than likely they will need to go back on meds in the future but for now this is wonderful for them. But just because they are off meds doesn’t mean they are not diabetic. If the diet was not very strict I’m sure they would see a rise in BS. They continue to monitor BS on a routine basis and take readings to appointments when they go. Their endro is monitoring very closely to see what the A1c does. I’m wondering, when you were diagnosed did they find any other medical problems. I know a guy who had underwent two surgeries and had quite a bit of trauma from them. He went into a nursing facility for a short term stay and his routine and diet was changed while he was there. His BS began to run high and they put him on oral meds and diagnosed him as diabetic. Since returning home his BS began to run low and his MD has let him go off the med for a trial period to see what the BS does. Again he is monitoring very closely during this trial. If your doctor won’t even discuss letting you try it may be time for a second opinion. Hope this helps.
Renaee

You can’t reverse diabetes, but you can treat it without medication if you’re a Type 2 - that treatment includes a strict diet and exercise and constant monitoring.

The point is that even if you can get off the meds, you’ll still have diabetes, you’ll simply be controlling it by other means. If you slack off on the diet, exercise or other routines, the symptoms of diabetes will come back.

I don’t want to discourage your goal, but I also don’t want to see you throw out your meds without a plan to take care of the problem the meds were first prescribed for. As others have said, read a lot here, understand your condition and how other people have got off their meds and talk with your doctor and medical team.

Good luck,

Terry

Hi Christopher,
I applaud your intention to get off your meds. BUT, I caution you about trying to get off your blood pressure meds. When your blood pressure is down to normal levels, it means the meds are working, not that you are free of the problems. And if the doctor is saying he wants to help your kidneys, you may be on an ACE inhibitor. These are absolutely vital medications and not to be taken lightly. I am a diabetic in kidney failure. And ACE inhibitors have absolutely helped to save my life. I had thought that my blood pressure was under control because it would be in the normal range when I would go to see the doctor. He told me to buy a blood pressure monitor and take my readings 6 times a day and keep a record for a month and come back and see him. I did that and was in for a surprise. Also regular blood work is absolutely vital as well as urine tests.
If you don’t have a trust relationship with your doctor, go see someone else. If you can stay in very strict control, you may be able to control things for awhile… Just remember that your life is truly in your hands Don’t take unnecessary chances with it. It is a gift.

Find another doctor who will spend some time with you and has a curiosity to work with you. Even if you end up with the same answers, you deserve to feel more satisfied that you are being heard and understood.

Hi there,

I have been reading a book about reversing Type 2 Diabetes. In this book it states that if you can keep your BS level in a normal range by a healthy diet and lifestyle then you will no longer be considered a diabetic…! IMO If you need to keep your BS level in a normal range by diet, exercising etc then you are a diabetic… there is no cue (yet)

Cheers

You cannot reverse diabetes, but T2 can sometimes be treated with diet and exercise. The canard about BP meds helping your kidneys is mostly that - a canard. OTOH, normal BP is under 115/75, even though treatment goals for diabetes are up at 130/80.

I would certainly look for a doctor who is willing to help you manage with as few medications, and at as low a dose of each, as possible. You will have to watch your numbers, and you may need some medication – both as you transition to diet-and-exercise and at some time down the road – but the longer you can keep “normal” numbers without resort to pharmaceuticals, the healthier you will be in the long run.

That is medically inaccurate and untrue. Once you are diagnosed, you will always be considered a person with diabetes. Although the symptoms of your disease may go away, you’re still a person with diabetes, it only means that your disease is under control, not that the underlying disease has disappeared!

Agreed. Unfortunately, most of the non-medical world (and even certain subsets of the D world) doesn’t understand this. OTOH, d&e-controlled diabetes (if one is paying for one’s own strips and lancets) can sometimes be presented by our doctors as “not-diabetes” for the purpose of medical insurance/pre-existing conditions.

You should go see an integrative doctor (they’re MDs). They look at your whole physiology and try to understand the root of your problem versus just masking your illness. I have a friend who told me about this and is currently on a protocol in hopes to keep off of prescription meds for her type 2 diabetes. When I spoke to her she said she was feeling great and that she’s making great progress. She’s preparing to get off meds eventually by controlling her blood sugar naturally. She’s eating right, exercising a lot, taking the appropriate nutritional supplements (which is key) and is reducing the stress in her life which helps her physiology as well. My strong recommendation is to go see an integrative doctor but do your research and educate yourself on what’s going on with your body and what supplements and different areas will help and why. The integrative doctor will obviously guide you and tell you what you need to know, but you should always stay educated. That’s the best way to go about it.

Neither Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes is ever reversed by diet and excersize. D&E is only a way to control diabetes. If D&E alone keeps your BS in the normal range then your control is excellent. If D&E keeps your Bs under 140 then your control is good. If your BS is in the 200’s or greater then you are still controlling your diabetess. It could be in the 400’s otherwise you just have poor control. In all situations you will be and always will be diabetic. So, don’t deceive yourself into thinking you are clear and free of the problem. You must always be vigilant for it to bite you on the bums when you least expect it.
peace
danny

I certainly commend you for wanting to get off any unnecessary meds. Although you can’t cure diabetes there are things that can be done to certainly improve your lifestyle and well-being. I have been working with an accupuncturist for 3+ years now with the intent of getting and keeping me off all unnecessary meds. I was on Accupril for over 17 years to help with the kidneys. There was nothing wrong with them. It was prescribed as a preventative. I haven’t taken one pill of that since and to this day there’s still nothing wrong with my kidneys. Thyroid medicine - pretty much the same thing. You have to be aggressive with your personal care, don’t believe everything your doctor tells you and keep in mind he/she is in business to make money. Where does some of that come from? - pharmaceuticals pushing drugs that aren’t needed. Over medicating on man-made medicine’s does more harm to the body than one would think. Cure one ailment only to mess something else up (oh, here take a pill for that now). Learn your body and how it functions, talk with other doctors, work with holisitic health practioners, eat better, exercise and test, test, test. What you are attempting to do can be done, has been done and you’ll always get flack from a western med. doctors about it. Good luck.