Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Reversed?

The answer to this question depends on how you define “reversed”. Unfortunately many folks interpret this phrase as meaning cured, however there is no cure for type 2 diabetes at this time. A cure means that the diabetes goes away completely and never comes back again, even if you gain a ton of weight, eat 4 hot fudge sundaes a day and go on high dose steroids such as prednisone. If you have type 2 diabetes and are overweight and then lose 10, 20 or 30 pounds by reducing your caloric intake and/or exercising, for example, your glucose values may go into the completely normal range and some (or all) of your diabetes medications may not be needed. In this scenario you could say you “reversed” your diabetes by lifestyle changes, but “remission” would be a much better and descriptive word choice than “reversed”. At this point in time your type 2 diabetes is not cured but completely under control. Unfortunately, it could come back with time and reversal of the improved lifestyle.

When you see companies stating they can reverse your diabetes and get you off of your medications, be wary of these claims. Additionally, getting off your medications should not be your primary goal. Some folks who have had type 2 diabetes for a long time, or who have a strong hereditary influence, may not get off medications even if they are doing everything right. For every person with type 2 diabetes, the primary goal is to try to get to the healthiest body weight they can and exercise in moderation. Being totally adherent with medications is also key.

4 Comments
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    Your blog post was very timely!

    I just saw my primary care provider last week and my HbA1c was 5.8- this was four months after having been taken off metformin – the last of my diabetes meds. She told me that if my HbA1c stays below 6 for 12 months after I’ve been off diabetes meds, that my diabetes will be considered to be in remission.

    Getting off my diabetes meds was good incentive for me to stick to a low carb lifestyle. The possibility of my diabetes going in to remission is another incentive.

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    I was not monitoring myself at all. For several years, I guess I was in denial of my family history of adult onset, type 2 diabetes. I never really wanted to know what my A1C was. It was around 2013, turning 57, I started to take a serious look at my health. 7.3 in 2013, 8.3- 2014.And 8.0,8.3 in 2015, seeing a trend. I called it my “Pre-Diabetic” phase. Who was I fooling. Upon turning 60 in 2016, I had been basically not compliant, a1c hovering 8.0. I decided that I wanted to learn about nutrition and lowering my a1c. I attended the 2017 Conference. Wow, did you open my eyes. I learned about nutrition, sglt-2 vs glp-1,oral vs injection options. Well in 2018 I lost 25 lbs thru exercise and portion control, along with my SGLT2 got my a1c down to 5.6. Last two tests in 2019 5.6 and 5.3. BMI 25.0, I know that I can now keep it controlled and maybe, in the future, considered in “remission”. Thank you.

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    I agree, “remission” is a much better word. One of the things I tell my T2s is that some damage from high blood glucose has occurred, we don’t want it to get worse so an on-target A1c diminishes progression

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