Is it possible to reverse Type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition that can lead to heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease and blindness. However, it is possible to beat it into remission. The pancreas can begin again making insulin, the hormone that regulates levels of glucose in the blood. The liver can reassert itself as the body’s reservoir for glucose and stop pumping out unwanted sugar. And many people who have been taking tablets to control their type 2 diabetes can potentially throw them away. This is good for the NHS, because 5% to 10% of people have type 2 diabetes. However, to beat it, you would need to lose about 10% of your body weight – and keep it off.
In an analysis paper in the BMJ, Mike Lean, professor of nutrition at Glasgow University, argues that giving tablets to reduce blood sugar (the main treatment for type 2 diabetes) only addresses the symptom. “Virtually everyone with type 2 diabetes is two or three stone [12-19kg] above their ideal weight,” says Lean. “One of the great tragedies is that we’ve known this for about a hundred years and all the treatments have ever done is reduce the blood sugar – this is the consequence, but what drives it is the weight.”
Lean says the easiest indicator of someone at risk of type 2 diabetes is a fat tummy. A man with a waist over 91cm (36in) or a woman with a waist over 81cm (32in) could both be on the path to the condition. Another paper in Frontiers in Endocrinology describes a programme of high-intensity exercise as a way of preventing type 2 diabetes developing in people with risk factors. But: “You Continue reading