Apparently, it depends on who you ask.
We know that there is still no cure for the type of diabetes where someone is completely insulin dependent. We don’t know how to get a pancreas that no longer makes insulin to just start up production again. And many a pancreas just need to be more efficient yet, we don’t have medication created to give it the boost it needs to work properly again.
Then why is there so much talk about a cure for someone with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes? Can some diabetes be cured?
A lot of people seem to think so. Yet, a lot of people don’t.
I’ve tried understanding why people would say there is no cure for type 2 diabetes and I have come to the conclusion that the main issue is we all disagree on what a cure even means.
To some, a cure is being able to enjoy the right blood sugars again and be free of any medications. Most importantly, to these people a cure means a life full of good health.
To others, a cure means being able to eat whatever, whenever, not exercise, and still, never ever have the wrong blood sugars again. A magical cure that no matter how one chose to live would remove the risk of negative health complications from diabetes. This cure also lasts forever otherwise it isn’t considered a real cure.
I find that the online diabetes community has a very strong following in the “there is no cure” category. To me, this sentiment is largely emotionally based. After all, why would we utter the words “there is a cure for diabetes” when we type 1 diabetics are desperate for a way to get off of insulin? We could say “there is a cure for some diabetes” but people still don’t accept this.
Believe me I fully understand this emotional reaction. I don’t want everyone in the world to believe there is a cure for diabetes because wait! I, as a type 1 diabetic, can’t possibly lifestyle-change my way to freedom from high blood sugars. So I want it to be known to all that there is no cure and we all need to find me one because I’m dying over here.
Do I want people to know there is a “cure” for some cases of diabetes?
Many doctors have great case studies showing how patients who truly followed their requests to lose extra weight (all of it, not just 10 pounds), exercise daily, and dramatically change their diets all returned to people who had non-diabetic glucose numbers and who no longer needed any sort of diabetes medication. This means these folks have also halted the damage diabetes causes to their bodies.
Sadly, most people have a very difficult time changing their lifestyle habits enough to achieve this. We live in a world where people tell a healthy and trim person to eat a cake because they’re too skinny when in reality they are just fine. We all seem to disagree on what healthy eating is. Some think a low fat diet is healthy while others think a low carbohydrate diet is the thing. We also disagree on how to exercise. Dr. Al Sears says we should do 12 minutes a day of his intense PACE program and your average health care provider says 30 minutes, three times per week is ideal and a steady stroll around the block will suffice. So not only are we confused about what to call a cure, we’re confused about general health topics.
What if many people managed to control their diabetes and keep it dormant or in remission by eating healthy and exercising enough? The overwhelming majority of diabetics worldwide live with a strong possibility that this would work for them or at least help them out very much! The diabetes epidemic might no longer be so powerful and destructive and more focus could go into finding a cure for those who are dependent on insulin.
Maybe we can all agree to say diabetes can in many cases be controlled so effectively that a person can live without suffering the harmful consequences of medications or high blood sugars. We can all agree that we are still looking and pushing for a cure so that those who do not produce insulin or enough of it, can. And maybe we should advocate equally towards a cure and towards educating the public on proper lifestyle habits. If we did we’d save a lot of lives. Yet would we in turn be sabotaging our own efforts to gain support for a cure? Maybe we’re afraid of this and maybe this is why we are so reluctant to talk about how to stop and reverse high blood sugars in non-insulin dependent diabetics.
Why can’t we educate each other about how there are different types of diabetes? Why can’t we support those who might be able to stop the damage by lifestyle habits and simultaneously support those who need a cure by advocating for it? I believe we can do it all and should do it all.
The best diabetes advocate leads by example. So I’m not going to stop exercising and I’m not going to live off of junk food because I want to support everyone else who may want to do the same by showing that it can be done and saying “join me!”. I also know how hard diabetes is and I won’t have anything but compassion for anyone who is struggling.
As always this site will be about inspiring and educating and sharing with those who live with diabetes. Together we can be healthier and support the cause to find the cure. I won’t however, advocate for a cure more than a healthy lifestyle because to me, a cure along with an unhealthy lifestyle will still leave us miserable and sick.
Tell me I’m wrong.