Let's start with some good news: Blood sugars in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes can be reversed to normal under certain circumstances.
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"With prediabetes, you have a chance -- a limited one -- to turn things around with the right amount of behavior change."
— John Whyte, MD
We used to think that by the time you were diagnosed with diabetes, the beta cells in the pancreas had burned out and lost function and that was the end of them. If that were the case, we would never be able to reverse or prevent the complications. But we now have evidence that these critical cells may indeed be able to regenerate and restore their function -- and that allows you to reverse the effects of persistently elevated blood sugar.
Some people consider this a "cure," but I don't think that's the right way to think about it. The reason why is that high blood sugars and elevated insulin levels have already started to cause damage, and if you have risk for diabetes, you continue to be at risk unless something changes. Type 2 diabetes also has a genetic risk component that you cannot change. I like to make the comparison to cancer -- you can send diabetes and prediabetes into "remission."
How do you do it?
Keep in mind that for most people, losing just 5% to 7% of excess body weight can help restore blood sugar control to normal. Realize you have the power to take control of your risk. Get informed and use that power!
JOHN WHYTE, MD, MPH
is a popular physician and writer who has been communicating to the public about health issues for nearly two decades. In his role at WebMD, he helps lead editorial direction around the most important health topics, explaining them in ways people can understand. He is passionate about changing the way we think about health. Dr. Whyte continues to see patients in the Washington, DC area. He is a dedicated husband and dad.
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