Can Diabetes be Cured?

Can diabetes be cured? It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves, especially if we or someone we know suffers from diabetes.

When you hear the word diabetes, the first thing that comes to mind is an insulin shot, right? Diabetes is a main public health problem that’s gradually becoming a world pandemic.

Over 18 million people are dying yearly from cardiovascular diseases wherein diabetes is a predisposing factor. It’s no wonder the issue of a diabetes cure comes up more often than not. 

Diabetes doesn’t have a cure yet, rather a remission and management treatment. In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of diabetes, their symptoms, and how they can be treated. 

So if you or a loved one has a diabetic condition, here is a good way to learn more about its management. 

woman taking blood sugar reading for diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Before delving into the different types of diabetes, let’s define it in simple terms. Diabetes mellitus, popularly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that gives rise to high blood sugar. 

Insulin is a hormone produced from your pancreas that aids the transportation of glucose from our bloodstream into the cells. Here, it is used to produce energy. 

Now, when your body doesn’t produce enough or zero insulin, it leaves behind too much glucose in your blood and leads to what is known as diabetes. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to various serious health issues. 

You may be prone to diabetes if you are;

  • 45 years of age or older
  • Obese or overweight
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have a physical inactivity history
  • Gestational diabetes when pregnant.

Types of Diabetes

The common major types of diabetes are;

  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Gestational Diabetes

#1. Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when the immune system destroys the pancreatic cells, where the insulin is produced. 

This type of diabetes usually occurs in young adults or children and is the case for about 10 percent of individuals with diabetes. When it is properly diagnosed and treated, oftentimes, people with this type can prevent most symptoms and critical complications from happening.

Main Symptoms

Type 1 diabetes occurs mostly in childhood or as teenagers. However, it can happen at any age in life.

In some peoples’ cases, genes are a major factor while for others, it is an attack on the pancreatic insulin-producing beta cells. Some of its major symptoms include;

  • Extreme thirst
  • Lots of peeing, mostly during nighttime
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Dry skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling feet and hands
  • Lowered immune function
  • Feeling of tiredness
  • Stomach pain and digestive issues

#2. Type 2 Diabetes

The most prevalent form of diabetes is known as type 2 Diabetes. It occurs when your body does not use insulin properly or produce enough of it. 

This type can occur at any age but is mostly seen in older and middle-aged people. It arises from a combination of lifestyle factors and genetics. 

Type 2 diabetes is a long-term medical issue in which your body can not regulate glucose or blood sugar level. This is because of its inability to use or properly produce insulin. 

The lack of insulin activity can result due to body resistance toward insulin, excess hormone production that resists the insulin action, or deficiency of insulin.

Main Symptoms

The main symptoms of type 2 diabetes include;

  • Extreme hunger
  • Extreme thirst
  • Loss of weight
  • Frequent peeing or urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Pins and needles sensation or numbness in legs and feet
  • Yeast infection
  • Areas of thickening and darkening of skin usually on the back of the armpit and neck
  • Slow wound healing

#3. Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs due to hormonal changes in pregnancy. Hormones are produced by the placenta which makes the cells of a pregnant woman less sensitive to insulin effects. 

It can lead to high blood sugar in pregnancy. Women who gain too much weight during pregnancy are more likely to have this type of diabetes. 

It usually occurs in the middle of pregnancy and doctors often test for it between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. You can control gestational diabetes with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and insulin intake.

You stand a chance of getting this type of diabetes if you;

  • Are 25 years and above
  • Are overweight
  • Have delivered a baby weighing over 9 pounds
  • Has gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
  • Have Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes

Main Symptoms

  • Feeling of tiredness
  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Sugar in urine
doctor holding diabetes patient hand

Can Diabetes be Cured?

When it comes to the question of how to cure diabetes, a lot of people tend to get confused on the issue of its existence. For now, there is no known way for diabetes to be cured, but it can go into remission.  

When we say diabetes goes into remission, it simply means that your body doesn’t show signs of the disease, even though the disease is still very much present.

A final consensus on what constitutes remission is not yet reached by doctors but a common factor of A1C level of lower than six percent is present. A1C levels show an individual’s blood sugar or glucose level over three months. 

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), remission can have different forms;

  • Partial remission: Where an individual has maintained a blood sugar level that is lower than that of someone with diabetes for at least a year. And this is without the need to use medication.
  • Prolonged remission: This is when complete remission has lasted for 5 years and above.
  • Complete remission: This is when the blood sugar level has returned to a normal level outside the diabetes range. It remains like that for at least a year without medications.

Getting to the stage of diabetes remission can be achieved by making easy changes to a diet or exercise routine. If you or a loved one has a diabetic condition, you shouldn’t worry about not knowing how diabetes can be cured. 

This is because you can have the same effect by achieving remission.

woman giving herself insulin shot to manage diabetes

Managing Diabetes

Living with diabetes comes with its discomfort. However, even without a cognitive medication to cure diabetes, you can manage it and keep the symptoms far away. 

Type 1 Diabetes Management

#1. Insulin Injections 

These are the most common and popular treatments for type 1 diabetes. Individuals can self-administer these shots at home. 

Different types of insulin injections vary according to how fast it works and how long its effects are in the body. Injections aim is to replicate how the body makes insulin throughout the day relating to energy intake. 

Types of insulin are;

  • Rapid-acting insulin acts at a speed of 5-10 minutes. Its duration is from 3-5 hours.
  • Short-acting injections act at a speed of 30-60 minutes with a duration of 6-8 hours.
  • Long-lasting injections act at a speed of 60-120 minutes for 14-24 hours.

#2. Implantable Devices

Scientists have been researching the utilization of implantable devices rather than regular injections to control type 1 diabetes. A 2016 animal study shows that an implantable device could protect the pancreatic beta cells. 

The research discovered that the device protected the pancreatic beta cells of a mouse from attack for up to 6 months. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first-ever implantable blood sugar monitoring system linked to an app.

#3. Using Verapill

A clinical trial done in 2018 on humans discovered that a blood pressure medication known as Verapill may prove helpful for people with diabetes. The University of Alabama, Birmingham sourced the materials used for this research.

Researchers discovered this drug could lower the blood sugar level of people with type 1 diabetes. Eventually, it reduces the need for the intake of insulin shots. 

Although the FDA hasn’t officially approved it, it shows promising signs of remission.

Type 2 Diabetes Management

If you are wondering whether there is a way to cure diabetes, some medications can help put the condition into remission. Lifestyle adjustments can assist the reduction of type 2 diabetes impact. 

However, most people with this condition will have to take some medications to lower the glucose level and boost insulin production and sensitivity in the body. Some of the classes of drugs include;

  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors prevent starch from breaking down thereby reducing blood glucose level.
  • Bile acid sequestrants (BASs) lessen harmful cholesterol and blood sugar.
  • Biguanides instruct the liver to make less glucose and heighten insulin sensitivity in the muscles. 
  • DPP-4 inhibitors support long-term blood sugar management without resulting in hypoglycemia.
  • Dopamine-2 agonists lessen blood glucose after a meal. An example is Bromocriptine.

People with type 2 diabetes do not need to take additional insulin in most cases. This is because insulin sensitivity and not production seem to be the major problem.

Gestational Diabetes

Most medications taken for diabetes adversely affect the developing fetus in a pregnant woman. This Is why it is recommended that as a pregnant woman with this condition, rather than self-prescribe a way to cure diabetes, meet your doctor. 

Your doctor should recommend pregnancy-safe means to reduce blood glucose and boost insulin. If you have gestational diabetes, you must control sugar intake and exercise lightly and regularly. 

The ADA advises against the usage of most diabetes medication for pregnant women.

Diagnosing Diabetes

Doctors often use blood tests to diagnose diabetes in patients. Some of these tests are;

  • The fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test measures your blood glucose after you have fasted for 8 hours.
  • The A1C test gives a snapshot of your blood glucose level over the past 3 months.
  • In the cases of pregnant women, doctors usually test blood sugar during the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.

Final Words

To date, nobody has found a way for diabetes to be cured in humans. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you have this condition. 

With the help of advanced research ongoing, scientists have been able to come up with treatments to help put diabetes in remission. The various types of diabetes are life-long conditions, but the right medication and diet can go a long way in controlling them.

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