Katy Wiley began her battle with Type 2 diabetes in 1990, when she was pregnant with her second kid. As the disease progressed and after eight weeks, she started insulin treatment, hoping that after her son was born, the diabetes would vanish. Instead, her condition steadily diminished.
Vision difficulties and nerve damage, common complications of diabetes, began to appear. Her A1C blood glucose (sugar) levels were rising, she was at least 50 pounds overweight as well as the medication metformin have been added to her day-to-day therapy routine of insulin injection. That is when she read at Cleveland Clinic that was recruiting patients to participate in one of three arms of treatments to analyze the effectiveness of methods to deal with and possibly inverse Type 2 diabetes in regards to a Type 2 diabetes study.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) says that Type 2 diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance or the inability of the fat, muscle and liver cells to work with the insulin produced in the pancreas to carry sugar into the entire body's cells to use for energy. In the beginning, the pancreas will work harder to make additional insulin, but it will not be able to keep making enough to maintain normal blood glucose levels, and glucose will build up in the blood instead of nourishing the cells. That's when gets developed and needs to be treated.
About 95 per cent of those people have Type 2 diabetes, a disease that reversed, can be prevented and perhaps even treated.
"While lifestyle variables of obesity, poor diet and exercise are risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, a genetic component frequently predisposes an individual to the disease," says Dr. Ronald Tamler, medical director of The Mount Sinai Clinical Diabetes Institute in New York.
Dr. George King, chief scientific officer at Joslin Diabetes Centre in Boston says he hesitates to use the word "remedy" but, with the proper diet and exercise, a person with diabetes Type 2 can go into remission for decades without treatment. King says that while we know that being overweight and obesity are major causes of the disorder, only about 20 per cent of people that are overweight and obese grow diabetes.
"Something is preventing the bulk of overweight and obese folks from developing Type 2 diabetes, and when we find out what that's, that is when we'll probably have the ability to look for a cure," says King.
Experts concur that the top time to reverse or avoid the onset of Type 2 diabetes is when a person is prediabetic. According to the NIDKK, a person has prediabetes when blood glucose levels are greater than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. A person who has prediabetes isn't only at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke, but for developing Type 2 diabetes within a decade.
Dr. Brandon Colby, a leading California doctor who practices personalised age management medicine, says prediabetes can initially show no symptoms or can cause dizziness and exhaustion. As a man gets closer to a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, he says, the sensation of pins and needles in the fingers and toes or tingling and numbness may start, a hint that the body is having trouble processing sugar.
"Physicians generally do not pay attention to prediabetes," says Colby, "but patients should insist they be analyzed for it, so that they can begin to reverse it by changing diet, increasing exercise and being warned about complications of the disorder."
The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a seminal NIH research study, was a center research initiative that worked with heavy participants whose blood sugar levels were higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes Type 2 and who'd risk factors for diabetes. One of three methods tried for delaying or preventing the onset of the disease.
The very first group was a lifestyle intervention group that was trained in physical activity diet and behaviour modification to lose 7 per cent of the body weight and keep the decline. The next group took 850 milligrams of metformin, an oral diabetes drugs twice a day, along with the third group took a placebo pill instead of the metformin.
A 10-year follow up revealed that delay or prevention of diabetes was most persistent in the lifestyle group.
Cypess says the study indicates that early stage prevention is, in addition, effective and that early stage Type 2 diabetes can be reversed. "When blood sugar is still close to standard, no pills are being taken and no insulin or other drugs are being used, a reversal has taken place, but the longer one has had diabetes, the not as likely it's that it might be reversed," he adds.