Type II diabetes, YES. Type I diabetes, NO. This is great news for people with Type II diabetes – that they have some, or perhaps a lot, of control over their diabetes. So let’s take a closer look at both types of diabetes.
Type I diabetes has been traditionally referred to as “juvenile diabetes” because it is usually diagnosed when the person is a child or young adult. Type I comprises about 5% to 10% of all diabetes cases and it is caused by a lack of insulin production by the pancreas. Unfortunately, it is not reversible and the standard treatment is insulin injection.
Type II diabetes comprises the bulk of all diabetes diagnoses, from 90% to 95%. In these patients their bodies are not processing insulin correctly. The primary cause of Type II diabetes is obesity, although genetics can play a role. Obese people have too much fat stored in their tissues and this creates an imbalance of insulin within the body. This condition is known as insulin resistance and it can have very damaging effects on the human body.
Fortunately, many people can control their weight through diet and exercise. A number of important studies in the last five years have clearly demonstrated that most people can reverse their type II diabetes with a change in lifestyle, primarily diet and exercise. And they can see results in one to eight weeks. It also means that people will have to abandon their sedentary lifestyles and poor eating habits.
Unfortunately, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle many not be enough to reverse Type II diabetes because it is a genetic condition or pre-disposition. Elevated blood sugar levels are the indicators or definition of diabetes and it may have to be treated orally or with injections. There are various treatment plans when diet and exercise is not enough. Some patients will need multiple medications to control their blood sugar and possibly their blood pressure.
Diabetes can be devastating and lethal if left untreated. The excess blood sugar levels or blood glucose can damage the blood vessels in the eyes and result in various vision problems. The excess blood glucose can damage the kidneys, nerves throughout the body, and nerves in the bladder which can result in incontinence. In addition, diabetes can damage sexual organs and double the risk of stroke and heart attack. And diabetics are frequently having their feet amputated because the poor circulation and reduced sensitivity results in run-away infections.
It is estimated that one in three children in the United States has or will have a Type II diabetic condition. The good news is that the vast majority of them can control this condition if they choose to.