Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body’s cells fail to react appropriately to insulin. This results in an accumulation of glucose (or sugar) in the blood, as it doesn’t efficiently transform into energy within the cells. Having too much sugar in the blood is linked to various health issues, and if not managed properly, can escalate to type 2 diabetes.
While Type 2 diabetes is a progressively worsening condition, there are ways to turn it around. Here, we look at reversing diabetes for better heart health.
Understanding diabetes reversal
Diabetes reversal is defined as the act of bringing blood glucose levels down to levels that are no longer indicative of diabetes. The condition is classified as reversed, when a person attains an A1c level below 6.5%, without the need for diabetes medications, except metformin.
Metformin is not strictly for diabetes, so it’s not considered in the reversal criteria. Many patients choose to continue using it for reasons beyond regulating blood sugar levels.
How to reverse diabetes
There are several ways to reverse Type 2 diabetes including dietary changes and surgery. Here’s a brief rundown of the diabetes reversal methods you can try:
Very low-calorie diets
Following very low-calorie diets can trigger rapid weight loss and reverse diabetes. However, they are usually only sustainable for a few months. After this period, maintaining weight and continued control of the condition can become challenging. Typically, low calorie diets are medically supervised and involve consuming less than 800 calories per day.
Very low carbohydrate diets
Adopting a very low carbohydrate diet can quickly lead to lower blood sugar levels, reduced dependence on diabetes medications, and weight loss, all while curbing hunger. Many of these benefits can also be easily maintained in the long term. Generally, very low carbohydrate diets involve consuming less than 50g of total carbohydrates each day.
Bariatric surgery, which is also known as metabolic surgery, has been demonstrated to reverse Type 2 diabetes in some cases. However, it’s an expensive option that can have significant side effects and may lose its effectiveness after several years. Given its invasive nature, surgery is not usually the first option considered for reversing diabetes.
Is reversing diabetes safe?
Blood pressure often tends to improve during diabetes reversal, so you may need to stop taking blood pressure medications. Other medications like SGLT-2 inhibitors, DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 receptor agonists, and metformin may also be phased out if blood sugar levels remain within the normal range.
It’s crucial that any modifications in diet, lifestyle, or other factors contributing to the normalisation of blood sugar levels be closely supervised. This will ensure the safe and systematic withdrawal of medications.
Due to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other heart health issues, those with Type 2 diabetes should undergo regular screening. Schedule an appointment with Dr Konrad Grosser to arrange cardio health screening today.