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Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

The aim of treating type 2 diabetes is primarily to help control blood glucose levels but another key
aim is to help with weight loss or weight management.
Keeping blood sugar levels under control is important as high sugar levels have been shown to
significantly increase the risk of health problems (complications) developing later in life.
Type 2 diabetes can be treated by a number of different methods ranging from lifestyle adjustments
to tablet medication and injections, through to bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery).
Lifestyle changes are advised for everyone with type 2 diabetes, with medications available if blood
glucose levels are too high without drug treatments.

Your GP and health centre


Your GP is an important part of your treatment and will be able to advise you on how you can treat
your diabetes as well as being able to refer you to diabetes education and lifestyle courses, refer you
to medical specialists where needed and prescribe medication.
Your GP will also be responsible for monitoring your health and ensuring you undergo a number of
important diabetes health checks each year which will include monitoring your blood glucose control
as well as blood pressure and cholesterol.

Diet
When it comes to diet, weight loss is often a primary goal for those of us with type 2 diabetes
because if we are overweight, losing weight can help to improve our sensitivity to insulin and
therefore make diabetes easier to manage.
To achieve weight loss, a diet should be low calorie and because type 2 diabetes is a lifetime
condition, it is important to have a diet you will be able to keep to consistently.
In the modern world, many of us have become accustomed to eating energy dense foods such as
bread, rice, pasta and potato based foods. Whilst these high energy foods are convenient theyre
less good for those of us that are not working physically hard.
Vegetables (not counting potatoes) are a strong choice because they provide a variety of nutrients
whilst having a relatively low calorie count. Because vegetables are a great source of soluble fibre,
they also help us to stay full for longer.
If you are at a healthy weight, aim to eat a balanced diet that allows you to keep your blood glucose
levels under control.

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Physical activity
Physical activity can be particularly effective in controlling blood glucose levels. When our muscles
work they take in glucose from our blood and make use of the stores of sugar the body keeps in
muscles and the liver.
After we have completed exercise, the body will start replenishing its stores of glucose by steadily
taking in available glucose from the blood.
As well as helping to lower blood sugar levels, exercising makes use of the energy we take in from
our diet, meaning that if we exercise more and dont increase calorie intake, then were in a better
position to lose weight.

Other lifestyle changes


In addition to diet and physical activity, other lifestyle adjustments, such as reducing intake of alcohol
and quitting smoking, will also help your diabetes and general health.

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can be reversed (put into remission)

Reversing diabetes is a term that usually refers to a significant reduction of insulin resistance in
people with type 2 diabetes.
In achieving this, it is also possible to reduce dependency on diabetes medication.
Loss of body weight can be particularly beneficial in helping to reverse the progression of diabetes.
With time and dedication type 2 diabetes can be reversed and the results can be very rewarding,
with less tiredness and better all-round health.
If you think you need to come off your diabetes medication, ensure you speak to your healthcare
team before doing so.

Understanding how diabetes progresses


The most common cause of type 2 diabetes is obesity-related, which generally follows a vicious
cycle pattern:

Diet high in refined carbohydrates, saturated and trans fats, whilst low in fibre and
essential vitamins and minerals.
Insulin levels in the bloodstream rise to cope with the high- and quick-acting carb intake.
Weight is gained around the belly (central or truncal obesity).
Consistently high insulin levels and weight gain lead to the bodys cells becoming resistant to
insulin.
High insulin levels also increase weight gain.
Insulin resistance leads to an increase in blood sugar levels, particularly after meals.
The pancreas produces more insulin to cope with rising blood sugar levels.
High sugar levels lead to feelings of lethargy and high insulin levels lead to increased
hunger.
Hunger often leads to overeating and lethargy, with less physical activity being taken.

Overeating, less activity and high insulin levels all lead to further weight gain and more
insulin resistance.
Consistently high demand on the pancreas to produce extra insulin leads to damage of the
pancreas insulin-producing beta cells.
Beta cell damage results in the body struggling to produce enough insulin, and steeper rises
in blood sugar levels leads to more recognisable symptoms of diabetes, symptoms of diabetes, such
as thirst and a frequent need to urinate

Breaking the progressive cycle of type 2 diabetes


To reverse diabetes you need to be able to break the aforementioned cycle by taking the strain off
your insulin-producing cells.
Research indicates that effective ways to reverse diabetes include:

Very low calorie diets


Low carbohydrate diets
Exercise
Bariatric surgery

Very low-calorie diets


Very-low-calorie diets (VLCD) have been shown to achieve significant weight loss, reduce insulin
resistance and allow people with type 2 diabetes to come off their diabetes medication.
In 2011, a study was published by researchers at Newcastle University showing that an 8-week 800
kcal per day diet was able to achieve remission from diabetes in seven of the 11 participants that
took part. The diet included around 600 kcal from meal shakes and around a further 200 kcal from
non-starchy vegetables. [174]
The trial used MRI scans and showed that the reversal of diabetes appeared to be correlated with
significant reductions in fat storage within the liver and pancreas.
Currently, Newcastle University are running a study involving 32 participants. The participants were
put on a similar diet for a similar length of time and then followed a low calorie weight maintenance
diet.
The participants will be reviewed for at least two years to see how many of the participants can
maintain diabetes remission over this period.
Initial results show that 40% of participants had achieved and maintained remission from type 2
diabetes six months after completing the diet.

A VLCD is regarded as an extreme form of diet and therefore should be undertaken with care. If you
are interested in following a VLCD, it is important that you first speak with your doctor to ensure the
diet is safe for you to follow.
In addition to the results seen in clinical trials, a number of anecdotal reports from patients show
VLCDs to be successful at reversing diabetes to varying degrees. Read more on the low calorie diet
forum.

VLCDs and reversal of diabetes in the news:

Mar 2016: Very low-calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes for six months
Aug 2013: Case of type 2 diabetes reversed in 11 days through Newcastle Diet
Jun 2011: Type 2 diabetes can be reversed by eating 600 calories a day

Low-calorie success stories from the forum:


There are many success stories in the forum:

Reversed T2 in 3 months diet only!


"Complete diabetic remission!"
My hba1c today

Low-carbohydrate diets
Low-carbohydrate diets are known for lowering the amount of insulin the body needs to produce,
resulting in less insulin resistance. [175]
A study published in 2014 by the Second University of Naples showed that a low-carbohydrate
Mediterranean diet was able to achieve significant rates of remission in people with type 2 diabetes.
After one year of following the diet, 15% of participants achieved remission and, after six years, 5%
had achieved remission.
The study showed that after 1 year of following the diet, 15% of participants achieved remission and
after 6 years, 5% had achieved remission.
In this study, the effects of a low-fat diet were also recorded. After one year, 4% of participants on a
low-fat diet had achieved remission and, after six years, 0% of participants had achieved remission.
Dr David Unwin, a UK GP, has run studies that have demonstrated reversal of diabetes in a number
of his patients after following a reduced-carbohydrate diet.

Making Diabetes Less Painful

Insulin pills could substitute syringes one day

Treating and managing diabetes is difficult enough without the added pain of pinprick blood
monitoring and painful insulin injections.
The number of times a diabetic has to test blood sugar levels and administer insulin depends on
their individual diabetic situation.
Although diabetes cures and permanent treatments are on the horizon, for the moment accurate and
diligent prevention strategies are the key to managing diabetes successfully.
Two areas in particular cause diabetics pain administering insulin and monitoring the blood.

Insulin injections
Many diabetics dislike injecting insulin, and choose any route possible to avoid insulin injections.
Insulin pumps offer one alternative to daily injections for type 1 diabetics and those type 2
diabetics that require insulin.
Automatic insulin pumps mean fewer injections, and because the needle is sited under the skin this
type of medication is less painful.
Inhaled insulin is another alternative for diabetics who hate insulin injections, or are allergic to them.
Inhaled insulin is currently rare, but it is available in some countries.
Concerns exist over the influence of inhaled insulin on the lungs, so diabetics seeking this form
of insulin should get advice from a healthcare professional.

Blood glucose monitoring


Another painful aspect of diabetes is the finger pinpricks to test blood sugar levels.

Herbal and Natural Therapies

Herbal remedies can assist in lowering blood glucose levels

Many common herbs and spices are claimed to have blood sugar lowering properties that make
them useful for people with or at high risk of type 2 diabetes.
A number of clinical studies have been carried out in recent years that show potential links between
herbal therapies and improved blood glucose control, which has led to an increase in people with
diabetes using these more 'natural' ingredients to help manage their condition.

What herbal therapies are available?


Plant-based therapies that have been shown in some studies to have anti-diabetic properties
include:

Aloe vera
Bilberry extract
Bitter melon
Cinnamon
Fenugreek
Ginger
Okra
While such therapies are commonly used in ayurvedic and oriental medicine for treating serious
conditions such as diabetes, many health experts in the west remain sceptical about their reported
medical benefits.
In fact, because certain herbs, vitamins and supplements may interact with diabetes medications
(including insulin) and increase their hypoglycemic effects, it is often argued that use of natural
therapies could reduce blood sugars to dangerously low levels and raise the risk of other diabetes
complications.
Whatever your intended reasons for using these specific herbs, you must always discuss your plans
with your doctor and diabetes healthcare team first to ensure they are safe for your condition and
determine a suitable dose.

Further herbal therapies


The herbs and plant derivatives listed below have been employed traditionally by native people in
the treatment of diabetes, in the areas in which they grow.
Many suffer from an inadequate knowledge base.

Allium
Allium sativum is more commonly known as garlic, and is thought to offer antioxidant properties and
micro-circulatory effects. Although few studies have directly linked allium with insulin and blood
glucose levels, results have been positive.
Allium may cause a reduction in blood glucose, increase secretion and slow the degradation
of insulin. Limited data is available however, and further trials are needed.