Reversing Type 2 diabetes? Yes, it can be done
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Increasingly, research is showing that Type 2 diabetes can be put into long-term remission.
"It's taken years to accumulate this evidence," said Dr. Hertzel Gerstein, diabetes expert at McMaster University. "Ten years ago people would have been very skeptical that it's even possible."
Type 2 diabetes affects one in 10 Canadians. It is a serious metabolic disorder that can result in stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputations and premature death. Right now doctors try to manage the disease using drugs to control a patient's blood glucose levels. Some of those drugs have serious side-effects.
"If you're on drugs it's not really remission, it's just controlling the disease," Gerstein said.
We reached him in Lisbon, where he's attending an international diabetes conference. At that meeting, a U.K. group presented research showing that Type 2 diabetes remission can be sustained for up to 10 years through weight loss.
Gerstein's own group is conducting a series of trials studying ways to reverse the condition using a combination of diet, exercise, counselling and short-term drug therapy.
Still, the goal of remission is not routinely being offered to patients right now.
"If you ask more experts at this meeting they'd say, 'Great idea,' but they'd have huge arguments about what to do and how to do it," Gerstein said. "The only way to resolve these arguments is to do the research."
Also this week, a group of U.K. Continue reading