Tag Archives: type 2 diabetes cure

Can We Replace “Reverse” with “Remission”? and Other Thoughts

Courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut

 

People don’t mean any harm when they say they reversed their diabetes.  They say it because that’s what the majority of the medical community uses and what they know to be true.  It’s not widespread that one can’t reverse diabetes.  In fact I’m looking for a doctor that will explain this to me.  So far, all the ones I talk to either say, “Yes, it can be reversed” or “I don’t know…”  It would be nice if we could use the word “remission” so that we had a way to describe those who reverse their symptoms and find themselves off of meds and with normal blood sugars.  We use this term in cancer patients, why not diabetes?

For some people, saying that they have reversed their diabetes is the logical way to put it.  They used to have high blood sugars but they changed the way they live and as far as they see it, they don’t have diabetes anymore.  I used to have a problem with my kidneys.  Test results would come back abnormal.  Now, test results come back normal and so I say I “reversed” my kidney damage (that’s what my doctor says, too).  That’s just the simple way that I see it.  And yet, I am aware that if I don’t manage my blood sugars, it’s only a matter of time before I see damage again.  Society has taken notice of how important lifestyle habits are and they assume it makes sense to say that if you live a certain way, you can keep diabetes away.  They just don’t know the details of the disease and good luck to you trying to teach them all the details.  People aren’t going to want all the details unless they feel diabetes really pertains to them.  If you try to get me to hear all the details about your favorite video game or your pet dog, I’m pretty sure I won’t remember them later.

I don’t understand when people say that diabetes is only cured if one can eat and exercise like a non-diabetic and have perfect blood sugars. The way I understand it, If you abuse the body, you run the risk of having serious problems. Metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, thyroid malfunctions…it goes on and on. People literally want to be able to eat the standard American diet and be well?  That’s simply not possible-at least not for long.  Those who argue that some people never get type 2 from this diet aren’t thinking big enough. This diet hurts everyone eventually. Maybe their genes offer some protection, maybe a lot! But eventually, the diet that so many eat in the US is very harmful and unfortunately, for an increasing number of people, it only takes a little of it to cause a problem.  And what if there were to be a cure for type 2?  People would want to eat as before and I doubt their bodies would hold up.

To me, the biggest problem is the fact that the media isn’t able to report on diabetes in a more multi-faceted and in-depth way.  If they did and people heard on CNN that type 2 varied from person to person, that the severity level could be minor to major and therefore some people could eat this and others found it didn’t work and some could be off meds and others could not, that some found success through just adding more exercise and others exercising all day didn’t find success and still needed meds, then I think the stereotypes would die down.  I think we should work on spreading that message.  Along with the message that type 1 and 2 are very different and that there are 11 types of diabetes (that we know of) so people should be aware that they can’t assume anything on some diabetic’s behalf-they’re bound to be wrong.  Maybe I’m dreaming but I think that if people were to hear this on the news they’d think, “Ohh ok…I didn’t know that.”

Focusing so much on how inaccurate the phrase “reversing diabetes” is hinders us, not helps us.  I think this because people explain that diabetes can’t be reversed by saying there is no cure and that once you have it you always have it-and I don’t hear doctors making that message clear at all.  So when we talk without any back up from the medical community we don’t get the attention we deserve.  Kind of like if I claim something without showing a study to back it up.  Why would anyone believe ME when I say that diabetes cannot be reversed?  I think that we need to seek clarity from the medical community and demand they set each other and the media straight.  We need their help to define the truth and to help us spread the word that diabetes cannot be cured, just put into a temporary remission in some people’s cases.  Also, to include that it is a progressive disease, getting worse over time.

A lot of people rant over this issue with a little too much disrespect, too.  It flies over the blogosphere and makes us sound even less credible than might already be to the general public.  Why would we attack people’s ignorance?  That’s a recipe for disaster.  Another thing we do that doesn’t work is exaggerate the truth.  One thing I’ve read a lot is that most type 2 diabetics are thin. This hurts us because suppose people go to the book I have here published this year by the ADA where it says that “three-fourths of all people with type 2 diabetes are or have been obese.”  That’s the majority.  So if we say that the majority are thin we’ve just lost credibility with people.  Trying to stop one myth in it’s track with one of the other extreme is not the way to go.

Instead we should be honest and do our best to give statements that leave people with the information that type 2 varies very much person to person.  We should set the example on how we want to be treated.  It sounds like Elementary School but over time I’ve realized that although it’s tempting to give people a short, simple, and informative answer, we simply can’t do that with a complicated disease.  We are going to have to take up more of people’s time or we are going to have to do something like this:  Next time someone says “If only type 2 diabetics would eat better and exercise more, they would be able to get off meds” we could say “That may be the case for some people but not for everyone because diabetes varies so much.  You know, maybe if the government used it’s money for fruit and vegetable subsidies instead of corn, beef, and tobacco subsidies, people would be able to afford healthier food.”  In other words, emphasize that “it varies” and then let’s remind people of one of the roots of the problem.  If we had better preventative care, if we all had easier access to fresh, healthy foods, if we didn’t have to tempted by a liter of soda being cheaper than a head of lettuce, maybe then more of us would eat better.  Everyone knows that’s true, they just need to be constantly reminded so that the bitter sentiment surrounding our health care crisis doesn’t get thrown onto those of us with the disease.

Part of our constant message should be that no one with diabetes should be blamed.  Compassion and understanding should be our focus because a lack of compassion breeds hurt and anger.  Then people take the hurt and anger and lash out illogically at those of us who are struggling with a disease or those of us with the disease lash out on ourselves in self destructive ways.  It’s a cycle we don’t want to continue living with.  And that’s why I think that it’s not as simple as telling people diabetes can’t be reversed.  It’s as complicated as explaining that it varies a lot, is very progressive, and that it’s mere presence is an indicator of how badly we need a cure and of how many things need to change in our society so that we can all be healthier.

Should Type 1 Diabetes Get a New Name?

Do we want to go down this road?
Courtesy of Nuttakit

 

People with diabetes of all types, help me out here, I’m on the fence.  Should type 1 diabetes get a new name?  I have been thinking about the pros and cons and feel I’m coming up short.

The benefits of a name change could stem mostly from the likelihood that people would start to learn more about “this new type” because media would report on the name change.  Also, having a different name would give type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes an automatic distinction and separation from the other.  Perhaps another benefit would be the psychological effect of type 1 and 2 diabetes having very different names.  Doctors and everyone else might find this easier when learning about diabetes and therefore not assume that one type of diabetic is the other type.  

Then there are the cons to this and believe me I’m aware of a few.  Would support and funding for a cure and advancement get hindered by this separation?  If people don’t identify with each other as people with diabetes, do they no longer ban together for their cause?  My worry is that they wouldn’t.  Granted, many people already support their type of diabetes exclusively and the information circulating about a cure being required for each type only supports this behavior.  This is not everyone’s case, however.  Another downside might be educating the public.  Let’s face it, it takes years to get new information to spread.  When people in the US started learning about stevia as a healthier replacement for splenda, people in other parts of the country and in other countries nearby were just learning that splenda was this new and wonderful diet accessory.  I’ve witnessed this first hand.  I would be concerned with it taking years to educate those in rural America about this change.  I know that where I live, a term like “eco-friendly” is just now getting more talked about.  Whereas in California, people were going nutty over this a decade ago.  So I see this as a realistic issue. 

So maybe we should just support some sort of educational campaign to get information to the masses about the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the fact that there are many other types as well.  Or maybe we should get a new name.  Like I said, I’m totally on the fence on this one. 

So what do you think?  What are some pros and cons to type 1 diabetes getting a new name?

Can some diabetes be cured?

 

 

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.

Or…do I?

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.