Diabetes Support - Is Type 2 Diabetes actually curable?

08-10-2011, 05:36 PM
There may be another thread about this, but I didn't immediately see it. I've seen so many things saying that Type 2 diabetes is curable, but I don't know anyone that actually has cured it. My doctor also hasn't talked about it potentially reversing even with weight loss. She's resigned me to the fact that I'll be on medication for the rest of my life. I'm currently on 1000 mg of metformin. I'm also on medications for hypertension, hypothyroidism and depression issues. I'm so sick of taking medications. So I'm really trying to seriously figure out how to cut down on what I have to take. Most of what I read said that weight is the main factor in diabetes and simply losing weight will get you off the medication. But is it really losing weight or is it that most people on diets control their sugar intake?

So my question is, has anyone here actually cured their diabetes? Are you off of medications? If so, how did you do it?

08-10-2011, 05:49 PM
I think "remission" is more accurate than cure, because once you're susceptible to diabetes, you're always susceptible.

Most of what I read said that weight is the main factor in diabetes and simply losing weight will get you off the medication. But is it really losing weight or is it that most people on diets control their sugar intake?

I think it's both.

So my question is, has anyone here actually cured their diabetes? Are you off of medications? If so, how did you do it?

My mother thought she was "cured" of diabetes, when her doctor took her off the diabetic medications after she lost about 60 lbs and her blood sugar numbers were in the normal range. However, thinking she was "cured" she stopped watching her carb intake. She started eating a lot more sugar and carbs, and even though she hadn't gained any of the weight back, the blood sugar went back into the diabetic range, and she had to start taking medication again.

She's back off diabetic medications, but her doctor told her to think of it as "in remission" rather than cured. As long as she controls her carb intake, the remission could be indefinite (she may never again have to take diabetic medication). However, if she doesn't watch her diet, it WILL come back, and even if she does watch her diet it COULD come back, which is why he said remission is more accurate than cure. Once a diabetic, always diabetes prone.

08-10-2011, 06:49 PM
My endocrinologist says it is not "curable" because it is a progressive condition. He did say that losing weight could result in less medication, but I'll always have to watch my blood sugar.

08-10-2011, 07:03 PM
Some people who are thin can also be type 2, so for some, losing weight isn't the factor that puts them into the diabetic catagory. It's all about what your pancreas can handle. There was a recent study reported from England that had subjects on an 8-week, 600 calorie diet that included mostly non-starchy veggies. It flushed out the stored fat from the pancreas and liver. Subjects seemed to be diabetes-free after that, but no reporting on follow-up with the subjects.

I totally understand getting sick of the meds! I'm grateful that I'm not on anything yet, but it feels like I'm not handling the diabetes as well as I used to and I might be close to taking the Metformin myself. Grrrrr!

08-10-2011, 08:33 PM
OK, so this is a pretty broad generalization. As you know, D is a bit different for everybody.

First, no matter how fat one gets they generally won't get Type II unless they're already predisposed to it. For those that are predisposed, weight gain blocks the cells ability to use insulin which makes the pancreas produce more. The increased insulin creates hunger which in turn causes weight gain. It's a vicious circle.

The pancreas, working in overdrive mode for so long, eventually starts to die out and loses the ability to produce insulin. If the D progresses to that level than meds will always be needed.

BUT, losing weight and increasing muscle can lower insulin resistance. This can mean that if the pancreas is still healthy it's possible that the meds can be dropped completely. It also possible that if the pancreas has died the meds can be reduced but not removed. In other words, you'd reduce your need for meds that deal with insulin resistance but you'd still need insulin.

ETA: There is increasing studies that suggest starting insulin early in D help protect the pancreas.

08-10-2011, 08:56 PM
A diabetic who doesn't take any medicines usually still has to watch their carb intake in a way a healthy, non-diabetic doesn't. My friend's father has also been thin but is predisposed to diabetes due to family history and when he was diagnosed he had to completely change his eating habits. Now he's medication-free but he has to watch things a lot more than if he was just generally eating healthy.

Instead of aiming to be medication-free, aim to have good control of your diabetes. Don't set yourself up for failure.

It's true being overweight is a huge risk for diabetes, but after a while of having it, it doesn't just disappear - the body is affected. If you have other complicating health factors, well it's just that it isn't that simple. It's hard to predict who will be able to get off meds completely.

08-11-2011, 12:32 AM
I'm Type 2 Diabetic and no this is not a curable disease. You can however get it so well managed that you are on a lower dose of pills or you can even stop taking pills altogether but you will always be a diabetic.

08-11-2011, 09:28 AM
What an interesting thread and good answers. I agree, that the best we can hope for is "remission". It is also helpful to remember that we are not personally to blame for our diabetes, and while getting control is in our hands, (usually with help) we are also not to blame if the disease progesses.
That said , I also have a few things to encourage you about your meds.
I was able to control my sugars with diet alone, BUT, there is really good evidence that metformin can help prevent progression of diabetes, and also prevents the negative side effects of diabetes (notably the blood vessel changes, like atherosclerosis). So I CHOSE to take the med.
I understand its a drag to be taking so much. With weight loss and exercise you may be able to go off some meds. Personally, I would work towards getting off the bp meds before the metformin.

I also go with positive thinking. You have some real health problems, that can become debilitating and even deadly, but with these meds, you can live a safer healthier life. By controlling your bp, you reduce the chance you will have a stroke. By controlling your blood sugars, you can prevent the long term effects of diabetes, (foot ulcers are pretty ugly).

Fifty years or more ago, you may not have had these meds to help with your health problems, and would have to deal with the consequences. Personally, I am thankful for my meds, and the opportunity to prevent problems.

08-13-2011, 12:28 PM
So I CHOSE to take the med.

Yup! Just like I CHOSE to start Insulin and I'm every so glad I did. It gave me back the energy that I'd been missing over the last decade and I know it's helping my pancreas live longer.

08-15-2011, 10:10 PM
Just to add my 2 cents: I haven't gotten off meds, but I have really improved my A1C, and my doctor has given me hope that I might indeed get off meds.

It's interesting, because I haven't lost as much weight as I did at least once in the past, and yet I've gotten better control, and I think the trick is that I've really been getting my 30+ minutes of cardio daily this time around (last time I was relying primarily on reducing calories). In addition, this time I've been working on increasing fiber in my diet as well.

I've lost just a little over 20 pounds, but made good progress with control of my sugar. I suppose I might, indeed, be disappointed if I'm never able to stop taking diabetes meds, but I'm not ready to stop hoping.

08-16-2011, 03:32 AM

Don't forget the value of exercise. It has been a boon to me in lowering the numbers . Good luck to all.


08-16-2011, 05:39 PM
My question would be, what is the value of going off the meds? If we can't cure the diabetes, but are hoping for "remission" does that imply no meds?
I'm being devil's advocate, not saying its wrong to go off the meds.
If we take the meds to help control sugars, and reduce the complications from diabetes, and going off the meds meant the complications were more likely to happen, would we go off?
The beneficial effects of metformin and much more than simple glucose control. It lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. It slows damage to the arteries, without the blood thinning effects of aspirin or statins. would I trade that now just to be off the meds? In general, I am not sure at this point. I am just so pleased to be in better shape and have my bs reasonably stable. I am not looking years into the future about it, just a general plan to be healthier and more fit over time.

08-16-2011, 09:53 PM
My dr told me that he will reduce my meds if my next A1c continues to drop (last one was 5.0) But, he said that he will encourage me to stay on metformin - maybe a lesser dose if I continue to lose weight. He said that metformin has protective factors. (yup, fatmad)

A bigger problem for me is that I may not be able to tolerate my blood pressure medication much longer. My bp is normal now, on the low end. That's ok but I am starting to get light headed if I stand up too quickly. Again, I might not need it but lisinopril protects the kidneys. It's a dilema.


08-16-2011, 09:58 PM
RIe, normal blood pressure is the great result from your weight loss. Are the kidneys at risk from other health problems? With the blood sugars under control and taking the metformin, things should be pretty normal.
Has the lupus affected your kidneys?

08-19-2011, 03:22 PM
Rie - I also have low blood pressure naturally (fatmad - some of us never had diagnosable high blood pressure even at our heaviest, although it got even lower with weight loss). This is currently a conversation I am having with my doc. I take the lisinopril at night, lowest dose, cut in half. That has helped alleviate some of the low BP symptoms. Also make sure you are taking the pure lisinopril, not the one piggybacked in the same pill with the BP meds added in, a combo pill doctors often prescribe.