For years doctors have prescribed medications to help their diabetic patients stay under good glucose control. Few doctors ever discussed the idea of “curing diabetes.” If one medication did not work, the doctor would choose another or a concoction of many or add the dreaded insulin injection.
More research is showing the idea of “a cure” or at least “remission” may be possible in certain conditions.
While a great deal of research has shown that strict diet control and fasting protocols will essentially “cure” diabetes, the fact is that many patients cannot sustain such diets and diabetes will come back.
A new study published in the Diabetic Medicine Journal
reports that if patients with type-2 diabetes lose at least 10% of body weight within five years of their diagnosis, they have a significantly higher chance of their diabetes going into remission: this is a close to a “cure” as you can get. Likely if a person goes back to their heavy set weight, the pancreas will rebel and diabetes will come back.
Diabetes remission is when a patient’s blood glucose levels are at a normal rate without having to take medications. AHbA1c levels need to be at 48mol (6.5%) or below to be considered a remission.
Hajira Dambha-Miller, one of the authors noted their results will be positive for diabetic patients by showing them that diabetes can be conquered without extreme measures. Gradual but significant weight loss may be more motivating for patients and more achievable.
Some of my patients are able to sustain a strict very low carbohydrate diet and keep diabetes at bay. Others cannot do this and get discouraged. Encouraging patients to lose weight has been a struggle for decades for most doctors. More data is showing that the struggle is worth it and encouraging intermittent fasting (ie., eating only between 12pm-7pm), may help some patients get their HgA1C under better control.
Sandra Lora Cremers, MD, FACS