Reversing a diagnosis

I am wondering here for life insurance purposes, whether, if one can control their diabetes well with just diet and exercise (ie. Hba1c within normal range at < 5.7 or whatever the cutoff is), they would be considered "non-diabetic’. [Even though if they did not follow the diet strictly their blood sugar would be much higher].

I am now in this situation… I do use insulin, but that is a choice because I want excellent control. But if I stop the insulin and be really strict with diet, I think my numbers will still be ok…

But I am also in a country where I don’t think the life insurance company could contact or even find my previous doctor, if I didn’t disclose that to them (ie. I don’t have medical insurance that anyone could track anything from).

I guess this could also affect certain professions, like pilots, etc…

Hi Steam,

Sorry, my question is not to commit fraud, but really, if one can control with diet and exercise and achieve “normal” numbers as far as test results are concerned, is it still considered ‘diabetes’ as far as official diagnostics.

You are not really making sense. You have said twice that you can control your diabetes with diet and exercise, but then that you are taking insulin. That is contradictory.

Logically speaking, if you start with contradictory premises, then you can conclude just about anything.

In other words, if you start by speaking nonsense, then nothing meaningful can ever be said about your situation.

But just to answer your question if we removed the insulin, then once you have diabetes you are considered always to have diabetes, since the symptoms would recur if you once again ate modern food or neglected your exercise.

In other words, perfect control doesn’t mean that you no longer have a disease. This could apply to other diseases, like Crohn’s disorder, that can be controlled.

Our modern diet, high in carbohydrates, can cause type 2 diabetes, and probably other diseases as well. But these diseases are real, and can be diagnosed, regardless of the effectiveness of one’s control.

Note: just my opinion; I’m not a doctor.


I won’t comment on the ethical or legal issues with this but I would provide some caution. Big brother is watching. You may not believe old health information at some old doctor is known but that is not true. Medical information is collected on everyone. You would be shocked at how much of your personal health information is released to insurance companies and other arms of healthcare. When you apply for life insurance you sign a form giving them permission to dig absolutely anywhere for that information. The fact that you had a prescription for insulin (or even just bought it) would likely be revealed. So the big risk is that if you get life insurance and don’t tell them then they may later cancel it or worse deny paying a claim.

I would tell you that these days at least some life insurance companies are taking a more liberal view of diabetes. If you demonstrate a track record of years of exemplary control you should find better ratings from insurance. You may not get the best rate, like preferred plus, but you won’t be denied or get the worst rating.

While you say you aren’t committing fraud, it seems like you are saying you would lie on your application. In the US, the discovery of a lie on your application allows the insurance company to cancel the policy AND deny any benefits. This is at a minimum. You may also be subject to losing any premiums paid and benefits accrued (cash value).

The short answer, IMO is once you have been diagnosed with diabetes you have it, period. You may be able to control your glycemic condition with diet and exercise, but if you stop those activities, your glycemic control goes out the window.

Glycemic control may not be the only thing to pay attention to w/r/t managing your diabetes. Other conditions like cardio vascular disease (CVD) may already be impacted, or may be in the future. Indeed, an increase in CVD is generally the main reason diabetes gets people a denial for life insurance. So, it’s not the diabetes as much as it is the other conditions that are associated.

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If you were able to control your diabetes and keep your A1C low without insulin, you would still have Diabetes. However, when we were applying for international health insurance I was told that my daughter would only be considered for insurance if she were able to go without medication/treatment for one year.

If you truly have type 1, I don’t think you could ever live without any insulin…although, I think diet and exercise are so important! I don’t know enough about type 2 to know if you can “cure” it.

I get what you are asking. It kills me that my daughter is judged by her diagnosis. She is healthier than most of her cousins/friends, etc., her A1C is in a great range, but she will always have to deal with the pre-existing condition.

Like others have said, you need to disclose your previous diagnosis…unless in the case where a company allows you to be “free and clear” after a period of time with no medication/treatment (unlikely).

I hope you are able to find an insurance that will cover you regardless.

Unlike others, I actually think you’re asking a pretty reasonable question. The key is to understand that while medicine has to set somewhat arbitrary thresholds for diagnostic purposes, diabetes (and this particularly applies to Type 2 diabetes, the category that’s almost certainly the relevant one for you) is actually a spectrum, with all humans somewhere on that spectrum. And especially if you’re close to a diagnostic cutoff, and have Type 2 rather than Type 1 mechanisms underpinning your diabetes, there’s no inherent reason you can’t temporarily or even in the long-term reverse your condition, at least enough to fall below diagnostic thresholds, and technically you would no longer be diabetic.

So there are currently three core ways to get diagnosed with diabetes, and failing any one individually diagnoses you as diabetic. But there’s also no rule that you have to pass all three to be non-diabetic, though as an insurance company, I’d probably want to see you pass a test you’d previously failed to change a

One, a fasting plasma glucose of 126 mg/dl or above. There’s nothing that specifies the diet, lifestyle, etc. you have to be pursuing to make this a valid test, so if a low-carb diet consistently puts you below that threshold, you’re not diabetic by that metric.

Two, an A1c of 6.5 or higher. Again, no diet, lifestyle, etc. specified to make this a valid test, so if a low-carb diet puts you below the threshold, you’re not diabetic by this metric.

Three, a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test glucose of 200 or higher. If your low-carb diet improves your condition enough that you can pass this one, you are definitely not diabetic (for now). But if you still fail this one, and it was the basis for your prior diagnosis of diabetes, whether you can just skip this one and reference the other two tests to establish non-diabetes is a bit more complicated. Technically, there’s no diagnostic criteria that says you have to do this test. But once you’ve had it done, and failed it, I think the insurance company could make a reasonable case that your diabetes wasn’t reversed until you subsequently passed it.

Hope that helps!

In addition to what others have said, I would note that life insurance applications are generally designed to ferret out this type of information. For example, there may be a question about diseases you have ever been diagnosed with at any time in the past. In that event, you would have to disclose the diabetes diagnosis to be truthful.

Hello everyone and thank you very much for your inputs. Certainly a lot to think about.

My situation is somewhat strange.

I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in the first weeks of my first pregnancy 7 years ago - I continued to use insulin (much lower dose) after that pregnancy and then through my second pregnancy. After that pregnancy, my endo told me I didn’t need to use insulin any more and that didn’t need to test any more.

I wasn’t impressed with him and haven’t seen him for 3 years now. However, I am a Bernstein follower, and wanted excellent blood sugar so I still continued insulin (low dose) since then, as it was the easiest and most reliable way to keep my hba1c in the low 5s.

Insulin is bought over the counter here without a prescription, so I have been doing this pretty much on my own for the past 3 years.

I do have blue cross medical insurance here in Philippines, but that is only for hospitalization, and the last claim I had with them was when I was pregnant with my first (appendicitis surgery, and I was recorded as gestational diabetes). I am pretty sure I am not in any integrated system.

I do have regular blood test results ( every 4 - 6 months showing hba1c stable and at target, and I also monitor my thyroid levels).

I do not have any “diagnosis” since that one of gestational diabetes. I have always presumed that this may be type 1 adult onset (I have other autoimmune issues - hypothyroid and allergies, and I have totally normal blood pressure, cholesterol, etc)… but type of diabetes has never been tested for. I did try metformin in the past, with no detectable impact on blood sugar.

In the seven years, aside from pregnancy, there has not been an obvious progression - if anything, strangely, things are easier to manage now than they were in the past… [ since then three of my sisters and my brother have also had tests with higher than normal blood sugars (but not yet ‘diabetic’, despite 2 also having mild GD)) which leads me to believe that maybe we are having some sort of mody… (again not tested for).]…

I will have to pass a medical to get the life insurance - so I am thinking I should declare the past diagnosed gestational diabetes, work really hard on the vlc diet and exercise so I can be upfront about not being on diabetes meds, and then let my results speak for themselves, and see what they come up with…

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Hey niccolo, thx for the input. I’m new here but wanted to add and see what other perspectives may be. I was diagnosed in 2010 with two successive visits of 130 mg/dl and A1C of 6.5%. Both have steadily come done and 1 1/2 years ago I went to a doctor who gave me Pancreatrophin, which can heal the pancreas, and now my last three tests (3 months between) were 5.7, 5.7, and 5.6. I’m also moving to a plant based diet. Both of these approaches are known to reverse diabetes. My question is, what criteria must I achieve so I can legally deny I’m a diabetic. The medical community wants nothing to do with what I’m doing because it will impact them in their wallets.

Other than being a satisfied user of Pancreatrophin, are you financially involved with it?


I haven’t heard of this supplement and to be honest it sounds like snake oil to me. I will keep an open mind, does any one else have experience with this product.

I think this is a good question and in general that life insurance topics are tremendously underexplored within the DOC. I’d like to hear any and all experiences with diabetes in terms of life insurance.

Personally, other than the coverage offered through my work, I enrolled (while I was perfectly healthy) in a 20 year $500,000 policy at age 28. That seemed like a lot of money and a long time at that point in my life. It no longer seems like either… I wish I’d elected much more for much longer… but now that I have a significant health history I’ve pretry much been in an unfortunate stalling pattern of uncertainty on the topic…

It is a discussion that needs far more attention in the DOC. I’ve started several discussions online on the very topic and surprisingly found very little useful feedback!