Mayo Clinic Q And A: How To Reverse Prediabetes
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I’m a 36-year-old man recently diagnosed with prediabetes. Is there a way to reverse this, or am I destined to eventually get diabetes? My health care provider says I’ve likely been in the prediabetes stage for a year or more.
ANSWER: There are steps you can take to slow the progression of prediabetes to Type 2 diabetes. You may even be able to stop or reverse it. That’s important because once Type 2 diabetes develops, the disease can lead to complications that can cause serious, long-term health problems.
Diabetes occurs when the level of sugar in the blood is too high. That happens because of a problem with the hormone insulin, which is made in the pancreas. When you eat, the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream. This allows sugar to enter your cells, lowering the amount of sugar in your blood.
In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin, and the body can’t use insulin as well as it should. That means sugar cannot move into the cells, and it builds up in the blood. Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough to be considered Type 2 diabetes. People who have prediabetes are at high risk to develop Type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that there are ways to reverse this condition. Certain lifestyle changes can lower your blood sugar level and decrease your risk of developing diabetes.
So What Foods Increase Insulin Production
All carbohydrates to some degree at least will raise your blood insulin levels. That is why I consider type 2 diabetes a form of carbohydrate intolerance. Protein can also raise levels but to a much lesser degree. The only macronutrient that keeps your insulin levels and, therefore, your blood sugar stable is FAT! Therefore, if you are trying to reduce insulin levels, you need to reduce your amount of certain carbohydrates and replace them instead with healthy, natural fats.
What does that mean in terms of actual FOOD CHOICES though?
When I say healthy, natural fat think nuts and seeds, avocados, omega 3 fats , extra virgin olive oil and whole eggs.
And when I talk about reducing certain carbohydrates, I mainly mean reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and bread. Non starchy vegetables are fine and can be eaten in abundance. Many fruits are packed with carbohydrates, so if youre trying to reduce your carb intake, try and limit your intake to low-carb fruit, such as rhubarb, watermelon, berries, peaches and blackberries.
It is really important to say that I do not believe that there is one perfect diet for everyone. Different people respond to different diets.
However, if you have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or if you have been told you are at high risk or if you have significant abdominal obesity, here are 11 ways to start reversing the effects immediately:
Diet And Persistence Can Reverse Diabetes
This means we can now see type 2 diabetes as a simple condition where the individual has accumulated more fat than they can cope with, continues the author, stressing the hopeful implications of this finding.
Importantly, this means that through diet and persistence, patients are able to lose the fat and potentially reverse their diabetes. The sooner this is done after diagnosis, the more likely it is that remission can be achieved.
For the first time, conclude Prof. Taylor and team in their paper, we are able to report the underlying physiologic changes during a full cycle of disease reversal and re-emergence.
In the U.K., the National Health Service will roll out a program that will test the weight loss therapy in thousands of people living with type 2 diabetes.
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Does Keto Diet Help Type 2 Diabetes
India is home to more than 77 million diabetics and it is estimated that about one in six diabetics in the world is an Indian. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of health conditions including heart diseases, nerve damage, high blood pressure, kidney failure, blindness, lower limb amputation, skin conditions, hearing impairment, etc. Cases of type 2 diabetes in developing countries are also closely associated with the obesity epidemic.
However, diabetes is a lifestyle disease and even though there isn’t a cure for the condition yet, it is possible for people to reverse it through some lifestyle changes. Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood sugar levels due to defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both.
Per recent research, a sedentary lifestyle and high abdominal fat have increased the risk of type 2 diabetes among Indians at a younger age. But lifestyle modifications can counteract complications and premature aging in people with type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes being a condition that impacts a persons blood sugar levels, one can manage it well by adhering to a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight.
How does the keto diet help diabetics?
You are what you eat goes the old saying and the importance of a healthy diet has long been emphasized. Needless to say, nutrition is the key to preventing lifestyle disorders like type 2 diabetes and obesity.
What happens when youre on a keto diet?
Carbohydrates And Blood Sugar
Carbohydrates, or carbs, usually come from starches or sugars and turn into glucose when they are digested. When glucose enters the bloodstream, its called blood glucose, or blood sugar.
The more carbohydrate eaten in a meal, the more sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream and usually the higher the blood sugar will be.
Although very few people would agree that sugary foods are good for you, some foods that we think of as healthy such as fruit can have a lot of sugar. And many people dont know that starchy foods such as bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes quickly turn to sugar when you digest them.10
For some people, eating a potato could raise blood sugar as much as eating 9 teaspoons of sugar! It can be hard to predict exactly how someones blood sugar will respond, as this will likely vary based on genetics and baseline insulin sensitivity.11 By testing your blood sugar before eating and every 30-minutes after eating for up to two hours, you can quickly learn how different foods affect your blood glucose level. The results may surprise you!
Chart: Dr. David Unwin
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Who Can Help Me Reverse Diabetes
People with diabetes should start with their primary care provider for guidance on reversing the condition and diabetes care. Their provider may refer them to a Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support service. A DSMES healthcare team includes diabetes educators such as doctors, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers with special training and experience. The team helps diabetes patients to learn more about the condition and diabetes management.
Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Reversed Or Cured
Jump to: How do we measure the reversal of type 2 diabetes?How do we achieve remission?So does significant weight loss cure type 2 diabetes?Can everyone achieve remission?Exceptions to the ruleTake home message
Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the bodys poor ability to respond to insulin . Insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. When we say blood sugar we really mean blood glucose. Both terms are used interchangeably. Reduced insulin sensitivity results in consistently high blood sugar.
If blood sugar levels are consistently high, then there is a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is usually known as prediabetes . You can think of blood glucose levels as a continuum, with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes being points along the spectrum.
Rather than curing type 2 diabetes, recent research has suggested that the condition can be reversed for some people following extensive weight loss. For individuals where this is possible, it means moving from the type 2 diabetes point on the spectrum towards the healthy blood glucose point.
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Reversing Prediabetes With Exercise
Can exercise reverse diabetes? It can certainly help lower blood sugar, since physical activity directly increases insulin sensitivity.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest that adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. That is the equivalent of at least 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week. It all counts, whether you do your 30 to 60 minutes all at once, or break it up into shorter sessions, such as 10 minutes at a time.
Examples of moderate-intensity physical activity include:
- Brisk walking
- Circuit strength training.
- Playing soccer or singles tennis.
You can also meet the recommendations by doing a combination of moderate and vigorous exercises. Harvard School of Public Health adds that physical activity trackers, or fitness trackers, can be helpful tools for increasing motivation to get active.
It is important to get your healthcare providers clearance before starting an exercise program, trying new exercises, or increasing your physical activity levels.
Infection In Legs And Feet
Nerves in the legs and feet are often most affected by neuropathy. This can cause you to lose sensation to your feet and legs. Sores and cuts can go unnoticed and lead to infections.
In some extreme cases, infections can become severe and lead to ulcers. Over time, this can cause irreparable damage to the soft tissue and lead to the loss of toes or even your foot.
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Online Prediabetes Test Results
If your score is 0 to 2, great! It means you probably do not have prediabetes right now. Think about what you can do now to keep your risk low in the future.
- Choosing more nutritious foods.
- Limiting fatty and sugary foods.
- Increasing physical activity levels.
If your score is 3 to 8, your chance of having prediabetes right now is low, but it could increase at some point, according to the CDC. What you can try to do is keep your risk low.
- Maintaining or achieving a healthier weight.
- Continuing to eat nutritious foods.
- Getting more exercise, as long as your healthcare provider approves.
If your score is 9 points or over, you have a high risk of having prediabetes now. The CDC recommends that you talk to your healthcare provider. You can get a test to see if you have prediabetes.
Almost anyone can lower blood sugar or even reverse prediabetes, but it is a lot easier when you have a personal lifestyle coach like Lark in your pocket. Your Lark coach is available 24/7 through your smartphone to offer practical advice and encouragement, and to provide instant feedback when you log meals, exercise, and weight. Lowering blood sugar can feel natural as you earn celebratory badges for good choices and develop healthy habits.
Is There A Cure For Diabetes
There is no known cure for type 2 diabetes. But it can be controlled. And in some cases, it goes into remission.
Keys to control
For some people, a diabetes-healthy lifestyle is enough to control their blood sugar levels. That means losing weight if you are overweight, eating healthy foods, and being more active. But most people with type 2 diabetes also need to take one or more medicines or insulin.
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Is There A Cure For Diabetes In Dogs
Scientists in Spain used gene therapy to put dogs with type one diabetes into long-term remission. One injection of adenoassociated viral vectors of serotype 1 encoding for Gck and Ins, or in laymans terms, viruses carrying insulin and glucokinase genes into a muscle in the dogs hind legs produced staggering results.
Simple Ways To Reverse Prediabetes
Doable tweaks to your diet, movement and mindset that can improve insulin sensitivity.
Your doctor broke news you didn’t want to hear: you have prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar is elevated, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. The thing is, with that info, you’re one of the lucky minority. Prediabetes is common, affecting 84 million American adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but just 10 percent are aware that they have it. Knowing that you have prediabetes can be enough to push you to make the changes you need, research shows.
While genes strongly influence whether someone develops prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, you have some control, says Jill Weisenberger, M.S., RDN, CDE, author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide. “Even for those with a strong family history, lifestyle habits can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. And a delay can mean less medications for fewer years and fewer complications,” she says. “The prediabetes stage is the best time to reverse course,” Weisenberger adds. In fact, lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce the risk of prediabetes progressing to type 2, per a 2018 study in Primary Care Diabetes.
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Can Everyone Achieve Remission
Despite losing weight to below their personal threshold, some people cant achieve remission. Professor Taylor acknowledges that a reduction in liver and pancreas fat is dependent on the ability of pancreatic beta cells to recover. If these cells are damaged beyond repair, perhaps from having type 2 diabetes for a very long time, then significant weight loss is unlikely to reverse diabetes successfully.
In his prize-winning lecture about the pathology of diabetes, Professor Roger Unger suggests that the build-up of fat in the pancreas causes ceramide to accumulate in the pancreas. Ceramide is toxic and kills pancreatic beta cells. It is possible that having type 2 diabetes long enough without treating it leads to too many pancreatic beta cells getting destroyed by this process. This means that even if individuals lose weight to below their personal fat threshold, they will not be able to go into remission.
This highlights the individual variability of type 2 diabetes and the complex systems at play when we talk about reversing it or going into remission.
This could partly explain why not all of the participants in the DiRECT study who lost a significant amount of weight went into remission. Perhaps some participants didnt lose enough weight to reach below their personal fat threshold, and those that did but didnt achieve remission possibly had irresolvable pancreatic damage.
How Do We Achieve Remission
Significant weight loss appears to be the most effective way to achieve type 2 diabetes remission. Professor Roy Taylor, a leading researcher of type 2 diabetes, and colleagues at Newcastle University conducted the first ever dietary and lifestyle intervention trial with remission as the primary endpoint. This was called the DiRECT study. 320 participants, all diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the last 6 years, were randomised into either the intervention group or the control group.
The intervention was a very low-calorie diet programme. Participants dramatically reduced energy intake to 850 calories a day and then were slowly reintroduced to a regular, healthy diet to maintain weight loss. The control group received the usual current treatment on the NHS for type 2 diabetes.
This study is ongoing, but so far the results have demonstrated that after 1 year, those in the intervention group lost significantly more body weight compared to the control group . In addition, 46% of the intervention group went into remission, compared to only 4% in the control group.
At 2 years, 36% of those who began the trial in the intervention group were in remission as opposed to 3% of those in the control group.
These results suggest that significant weight loss can reverse type 2 diabetes and result in regular insulin activity for some, even if the individual has been diagnosed up to 10 years ago.
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Is Type 2 Diabetes Reversible
Type 2 diabetes is a serious, long-term medical condition. It develops mostly in adults but is becoming more common in children as the rate at which people are developing obesity rises across all age groups.
Several factors contribute to type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or having obesity are the biggest risk factors.
Type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening. But if treated carefully, it can be managed or even reversed.
Healthline has partnered with Profile by Sanford to bring you more information about how to manage diabetes for better health through diet, exercise, and more.
Treatment for type 2 diabetes includes:
- monitoring your blood sugar levels
- using medications or insulin when needed
Doctors also recommend losing weight through diet and exercise. Some diabetes medications have weight loss as a side effect, which can also help to treat or manage diabetes.
To help manage your diabetes try:
- eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
- losing excess weight
Weight loss is the primary factor in those who have experienced a reversal of type 2 diabetes, as excess fat in the body affects the production of insulin and how its used.
In a small 2011 study, 11 people with type 2 diabetes drastically reduced their caloric intake for 8 weeks, reversing the course of their condition. Researchers noted that this is a small sample, and the participants had lived with the condition for only a few years.
Social Support And Lowering Blood Sugar
All these lifestyle changes can be a lot, but having social support can help. In fact, the CDC lists social support as one of the most important parts of a plan to reverse diabetes. Examples include:
- Walking with neighbors in the morning or evening, or with a coworker at lunch.
- Packing a healthy picnic and spending the day at the park with your family.
- Joining an online support group.
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