World Diabetes Day: Is Type 2 Diabetes Reversible
World Diabetes Day is celebrated worldwide for spreading awareness about diabetes mellitus and how to treat it. Let's find out if type 2 diabetes mellitus is reversible or not.
World Diabetes Day 2017: Can type 2 diabetes mellitus be reversed
- It is a myth that Type 2 diabetes mellitus is not reversible
- Individuals on a low caloric diet can in fact reverse T2D mellitus
- To facilitate this reversal we need to address the root cause, obesity
It is a myth that Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D mellitus) is not reversible. The role of medication in the treatment of diabetes is to control the disease; it does not however address the root cause. A newly published study on Reversal of T2D mellitus from Newcastle University proves that individuals on a low caloric diet can in fact reverse T2D mellitus. This study by Professor Roy Taylor also demonstrates that even in participants who have had this type of diabetes for up to 10 years, major weight loss can return insulin secretion to normal.
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As T2D mellitus is a lifestyle disorder, a combination of diet and proper physical activity can reverse the disease. To facilitate this reversal we need to address the root cause, obesity. On a hypocaloric diet (800-1000 kcal), which constitutes low glycemic food (more vegetables) and reducing fat intake, one can reduce their weight and thus treat this root cause.
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About 70% of obese individuals with T2D mellitus also have Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), which causes excess fat deposition in the liver. This is one of the main reasons for increased blood sugar levels. Moreover, accumulation of fat on the pancreatic cells also leads to decreased insulin production, which increasing blood sugar level. Therefore, when a T2D mellitus patient is on a low caloric diet, it not only helps in weight reduction but also leads to a reduction in liver and pancreatic fat deposition, curbing blood sugar levels.
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The efficacy of a hypocaloric diet has been tested in Caucasians but not yet in the Indian population. In our prospective interventional study that tests this hypothesis on Indians, preliminary findings have been promising.
(Dr. Sujeet Jha is the Director of Institute of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Max Healthcare)