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Reversing Diabetes – Dr.Ravi Sankar Endocrinologist MRCP(UK) CCT – GIM (UK)
Reversing diabetes is a term that usually refers to a significant long-term improvement in insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.
People with type 2 diabetes that are able to get their HbA1c below 42 mmol/mol (6%) without taking diabetes medication are said to have reversed or resolved their diabetes. This also known as putting diabetes into remission.
Loss of body weight can be particularly beneficial in helping to reverse the progression of diabetes.
With time and dedication, type 2 diabetes can be reversed and the results can be very rewarding, with less tiredness and better all-round health.
If you think you need to come off your diabetes medication, ensure you speak to your healthcare team before doing so.
Understanding how diabetes progresses
The most common cause of type 2 diabetes is obesity-related, which generally follows a vicious cycle pattern:
Diet high in calories -particularly if high in refined carbohydrates.
Insulin levels in the bloodstream rise to cope with the high- and quick-acting carb intake.
Weight is gained around the belly (central or truncal obesity).
Consistently high insulin levels lead to the body’s cells becoming resistant to insulin and commonly lead to weight gain.
High insulin levels also increase weight gain.
Insulin resistance leads to an increase in blood sugar levels, particularly after meals.
The pancreas produces more insulin to cope with rising blood sugar levels
High sugar levels lead to feelings of lethargy and high insulin levels lead to increased hunger.
Hunger often leads to overeating and lethargy, with less physical activity being taken.
Overeating, less activity and high insulin levels all lead to further weight gain and more insulin resistance.
Consistently high demand on the pancreas to produce extra insulin leads to damage of the pancreas’ insulin-producing beta cells.
Beta cell damage results in the body struggling to produce enough insulin, and steeper rises in blood sugar levels leads to more recognisable symptoms of diabetes, symptoms of diabetes, such as thirst and a frequent need to urinate
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