- There are a lot of contributing factors from diet (1-3), and physical activity habits (4-7), to stress (8-10), sleep habits (11-13), and environmental pollution (14-16); and
- It affects a lot of organs and processes, from the pancreas (17), liver (18), heart (19), kidneys (20,21), and muscles (22), to how the body deals not just with carbohydrates (23), but also fats (24), and protein (25), to the nervous system (26), brain and thinking (27,28).
It’s chronic in that it usually takes a while to develop and it doesn’t readily go away, especially not on its own (17).
If you have type 2 diabetes, what you really want to know is – can it be cured? Plenty of people claim it can and write books or give talks about it. Others, your medical care team probably among them, tell you it can’t be cured, it can only be managed.
Both those who say type 2 diabetes can be cured and those who say it can’t are right. How? Because the word cure is inappropriate, or at least unhelpful. The word cure suggests there is something that can be done at one point in time that has a permanent effect in terms of eliminating the problem.
The reality is that type 2 diabetes is not like a broken leg, with a single event causing it, and once it heals is permanently fixed. Nor is it like an infection, that comes along, gets treated, and goes away. Type 2 diabetes is like a repetitive overuse/strain injury of the organs and how they interact. It builds, usually gradually, at first without any symptoms. Eventually you or your doctor notices something that leads to a diagnosis.
Learn more here: The Path to Type 2 Diabetes (9 minute presentation)
The metaphor of a repetitive overuse injury fits on multiple levels. Type 2 diabetes has elements of wear and tear. This wear and tear results from our environment. By environment I mean what we eat, drink, breathe, and think, as well as how physically active we are or aren’t, how well we manage our stress, and when, how much, and how well we sleep.
Most people treat type 2 diabetes with medication and little else. That’s the equivalent of splinting the area that has the repetitive strain injury but keeping on doing whatever aggravated the injury in the first place. What the injury really needs is some rest to heal, and then some rehabilitation to make it strong and resilient again. That’s a little more complicated in type 2 diabetes than it is with a muscle or tendon injury, but the principle is the same.
We can reverse the repetitive strain injury. It may take weeks or months, but the better the job we do of first letting the area heal and then developing appropriate strength and endurance, the bigger the buffer we create to protect us from a recurrence. Still, if we go back to doing what caused the problem in the first place, it will eventually come back. The same is true for type 2 diabetes. We can’t cure it, but we can, in many cases, reverse it, or at least improve its management substantially. Whether it comes back depends on how big a buffer we create and how much we go back to creating and living in the environment that caused it in the first place.
Given that many still argue that type 2 diabetes can’t be reversed, we’ll look at the clear evidence that it can in the next post.
To learn more about type 2 diabetes and what you can do to better manage, and often reverse it, watch my free video education series. If you want one-on-one help dealing with your type 2 diabetes, contact me here to book a consultation.
References: click here to see the full list of references cited.