Can Diabetes Be Cured?
While type 2 diabetes can’t be cured, certain lifestyle changes are proven to reverse the disease and put it in remission, drastically reducing your risk of serious health complications.
Can type 2 diabetes be cured?
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body’s cells don’t properly respond to insulin. This causes too much blood sugar to build up in your bloodstream, rather than being used as energy by your cells.
Multiple clinical trials have shown type 2 diabetes is reversible and can be put into remission. Remission is defined as sustaining normal blood glucose (sugar) levels for three months or more without any diabetes medications.
However, while reversal and remission are possible, type 2 diabetes can’t be cured. The distinction is this: diabetes will come back if lifestyle changes are not maintained.
Managing diabetes without medication
It’s possible to manage your diabetes without medication by making changes to your lifestyle, including your diet, physical activity, sleep and stress levels. However, if you don’t maintain these lifestyle changes, your diabetes symptoms will return.
Your diet can help you control your blood sugar without medication. There are two types of diets, in particular, that can help with diabetes reversal:
- very low-calorie diets: these diets can only be followed for a few months. This makes it nearly impossible to maintain weight loss and diabetes control. At Virta Health, we don’t recommend this approach.
- very low-carbohydrate diets: Cutting back on carbohydrates has been shown to decrease blood sugar, aid weight loss and reduce hunger. Virta Health uses a well-formulated ketogenic diet and 1:1 virtual coaching to achieve diabetes remission.
In addition to your diet, other lifestyle changes can help you manage type 2 diabetes naturally:
- maintain a healthy weight.
- exercise regularly. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.
- practice stress management techniques.
- get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
- avoid or limit alcohol.
Other treatment options
If lifestyle changes don’t help with diabetes management, there are other options, including medication and surgery.
Medication for type 2 diabetes
Medications used to control type 2 diabetes include:
Commonly used diabetes medications
- • biguanides (metformin)
- • insulin given through injections or an insulin pump
- • GLP1-receptor agonist, and GLP1-GIP co-agonists
- • SGLT2-inhibitors
- • DPP-4 inhibitors
- • thiazolidinedione (pioglitazone, rosiglitazone)
- • sulfonylureas (glimepiride, glipizide, glyburide)
Less commonly used diabetes medications
- • dopamine-2 agonists
- • bile acid sequestrants
- • amylin analogs
- • meglitinides (repaglinide, nateglinide)
- • alpha glucosidase inhibitors
You may need to do finger sticks or wear a continuous glucose monitor to test your blood sugar levels.
Sometimes, bariatric surgery is used to reverse type 2 diabetes. The downsides of surgery are that it:
- Can cause significant side effects.
- Is expensive.
- Can lose effectiveness after a few years.
Common FAQs about type 2 diabetes
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about controlling type 2 diabetes.
Can diabetes be permanently cured?
No, diabetes cannot be permanently cured. However, for some people, it can be managed naturally (without medication or surgery) through lifestyle changes.
How can I control my diabetes without taking medicine?
Lifestyle factors like your diet, physical activity, sleep and stress management can all help manage diabetes naturally.
What are some lifestyle changes for diabetes?
You can manage diabetes through lifestyle changes by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Exercising regularly. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.
- Practicing stress management techniques to help you cope.
- Getting at least seven hours of sleep per night.
- Avoiding or limiting alcohol.
How can I reverse diabetes quickly?
Everyone’s body is different, but many people are able to achieve remission with type 2 diabetes by making healthy choices. Virta Health can help you make these changes possible through a well-formulated ketogenic diet to reverse the progression of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Virta Health also provides support through 1:1 virtual coaching to help you make lasting changes. See if you’re eligible for Virta Health here.