Is type 2 diabetes forever?
It’s what type 2 diabetics are told from the time they are diagnosed.
For too many, the answer is yes. The answer can also be maybe or no.
Since these answers aren’t really saying much, let me explain.
Is type 2 diabetes forever? Yes!
If you have followed any of our posts here or anywhere on social media, you know that by following the standard advice of taking medication to control blood sugar, you aren’t getting better. You are just “kicking the can down the road.” Taking medication to control blood sugar doesn’t address the problem, which is insulin resistance.
Since the problem isn’t being addressed, this is a “disease management” approach, not a treatment approach.
If this is all you do, then yes, you will have type 2 diabetes forever. This is the least desirable answer, mainly because your diabetes will get worse over time. Your medication needs will increase – larger dosages or additional medications (like insulin). Further, your risk for complications – kidney problems, vision problems, circulatory problems, etc… – increases as well.
So, if you want all of these nasty things happening to you, follow this plan. You will be diabetic forever. This is unfortunate because we haven’t met a type 2 diabetic that wanted to stay diabetic. Most of them follow this path because they really don’t know what to do. They are confused, overwhelmed, stressed – you name it – so they just kind of move along.
Is type 2 diabetes forever? Maybe!
This is more ideal than above but what does it mean? Essentially, it means a type 2 diabetic is still diabetic but is controlling his/her blood sugar through appropriate lifestyle changes. These changes – proper diet, appropriate exercise, improved sleep and better stress management – have led to improved insulin sensitivity. Improved insulin sensitivity leads to better blood sugar control, which can even lead to no medication.
However, even with all of these changes you may still be diabetic, even if you aren’t taking medication. This is because you will fail all of the type 2 diabetes tests.
This “maybe” is a very good place to be, particularly if triglycerides are under control and the triglyceride – HDL ratio is good. When blood sugar is under control and insulin load on the body has decreased significantly, long term risk for complications goes down significantly.
But it requires being diligent in keeping with your changes and a complete understanding there is little flexibility while your insulin sensitivity continues to improve.
Is type 2 diabetes forever? No!
In this case, the type 2 diabetic has completely reversed his/her condition, has completely restored insulin sensitivity and no longer needs medication. Further, all testing for diabetes comes back negative. Note: You can still fail an OGTT, even though you are essentially no longer diabetic, if you don’t prepare for it.
This is the most ideal situation but it is tough to achieve and the longer one has been diabetic, the harder it is to achieve.
While a “no” answer is the most ideal, the goal of every type 2 diabetic should be to achieve a “maybe.” Once here, continue with the changes already being done and continue to work on improving insulin sensitivity until a “no” answer is obtained.
Can every type 2 diabetic do this? Yes, short of some genetic issues, every type 2 diabetic should be able to achieve a “maybe” answer.
Is it hard? Well, that depends. Either it’s too hard or you do it.
- It’s too hard. If it’s too hard, you stay yes. When you stay yes, the likelihood of serious problems increases.
- You do it. You work to get a maybe. By doing this, you reduce your longterm risk.
It’s not for me to answer if it is too hard for you. That is a question you need to answer.
If you truly want to reduce your risk and get a maybe answer, it doesn’t matter how hard it is. You just have to decide and then go do it.
It’s like the old saying, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
Besides, accomplishing something difficult brings great pride and confidence.
Note: I am not your doctor. Do not consider this as medical advice. It’s just my observations after working with MANY type 2 diabetics over the last several years.
Image courtesy of Lukas