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What are the Best Ways to Reverse Diabetes

written by: DaniellaNicole • edited by: lrohner • updated: 8/31/2010

Can diabetes be reversed? With the proper changes in diet and lifestyle, reversal of type 2 diabetes is very possible. Learn the most effective way to reverse diabetes for type 2 patients.

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    The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. It cannot be prevented or reversed.

    The symptoms of type 2 and gestational diabetes may be prevented or reversed, particularly if the disease is diagnosed before its full onset, in which is called the pre-diabetes stage. The same tips that help prevent these conditions also help treat and reverse them.

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    Lose Extra Weight

    Losing those few extra pounds can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes, and even reverse the effects of the disease for those already suffering from the condition. The American Diabetes Association states that a 5 to 10 percent reduction in a person's body weight, coupled with 30 minutes of physical activity per day, can reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.

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    Exercise

    Getting on a regular exercise schedule can help prevent or reverse diabetes. The Mayo Clinic recommends 30 minutes of physical activity or exercise each day. The exercise should be moderate in nature, and includes activities like walking, swimming and bike riding.

    If 30 minutes per day is too challenging at first, start with a lesser amount of time and gradually work your way up to 30 minutes per day. Or split the 30 minutes into two 15-minute or three 10-minute sessions.Dr. Matt McMillen explains how best to do this incremental step-up: "Start with five minutes a day, and work slowly up from there . . .You don't have to run a marathon."

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    Eat Healthy

    Focus on eating low fat and low calorie foods for diabetes reversal and prevention. Eat a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid starchy vegetables, increase your consumption of leafy green vegetables and choose lean meats for protein (poultry over red meat).

    Learn how to read labels.There are many common ingredients that are listed by a name other than one you would recognize. Sugar, for example may be listed as ‘sucrose’. Both are the same thing: refined, table sugar. This is not to be confused with ‘sucralose’, which is Splenda.

    Though sugar substitutions offer variety for those avoiding sugar, some people experience side effects such as headaches or abdominal distress. Eating too many foods with sugar substitutions can cause diarrhea and flatulence.

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    Surgery

    According to Dr. Michael Dansinger, gastric bypass surgery has been shown to help reverse diabetes in obese patients, citing a weight loss of “often well over 80 pounds." Lap band surgery is another surgical option for obese patients with type 2 diabetes resulting from obesity, with a weight loss “often in the 40-60 pound range." For some morbidly obese patients, this could be the most effective way to reverse diabetes, though it is certainly not an option that should be taken lightly.

    A patient’s treating physician and the surgeon can advise the patient as to the risks and benefits based on that patient’s particular medical needs.

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    References

    Diabetes. Mayo Clinic Staff. March 17, 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes/DS01121

    Conquering Diabetes. Michael Dansinger, MD. June 24, 2009. http://blogs.webmd.com/life-with-diabetes-2/2009/06/the-diabetes-reversal-equation.html

    Conquering Diabetes (Part II). Michael Dansinger, MD. June 30, 2009. http://blogs.webmd.com/life-with-diabetes-2/2009/06/what-is-diabetes-reversal-part-ii.html

    How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes. Matt McMillen. Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD. Reviewed April 29, 2010. http://diabetes.webmd.com/features/reversing-type-2-diabetes

    How To Prevent Pre-Diabetes: American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/pre-diabetes/how-to-prevent-pre-diabetes.html