Myth- “I have to exercise and starve myself to reverse my diabetes!”
Would you be happy if you could lose weight without getting hungry or exercising? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your energy doubled, blood sugar and A1C dropped to normal, your doctor reduced or removed your medication, and if you felt great again?
Experience the difference at Hoyt Integrative Health! Real Health Restored
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (diabetes) - Symptoms & Treatment
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or Diabetes is the most common form of Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body is resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that turns glucose or blood sugar into energy. When the body is resistant to insulin, it is unable to use the hormone to break down the glucose which results in heightened blood sugar. The pancreas tries to create more insulin to deal with the higher glucose levels but is unable to sustain high production for a long period of time and ultimately fails to normalize the blood sugar level.
Pre-diabetes & Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
Because your body is unable to turn glucose into usable energy, you may experience:
- Fatigue or Weakness before or after a meal
- Hunger even after having just ate
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Weight gain
- Blurry vision
- Headaches and even loss of consciousness
Urinating more frequently? Thirsty? Is your vision getting blurry?
These are all symptoms of both type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. Many people with diabetes don’t know they have it because it is such a gradual development. Typically, type 2 diabetes is not diagnosed until it’s already begun to affect your heart, blood vessels, kidneys and eyes. Although pre-diabetes doesn’t show many symptoms because of the gradual nature of this condition, some people are more likely to get diabetes.
Cardiovascular Disease is a major cause of mortality in Type 2 Diabetes.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms and have heart disease or have had an abnormal blood sugar result in the past you should be tested for pre-diabetes. Recent research concluded that cardiovascular disease affects approximately 32% of all persons with Type 2 Diabetes. Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of mortality among people with Type 2 diabetes, accounting for approximately half of all deaths. Coronary artery disease and stroke were the major contributors. Cardiovascular Diabetology 2018 17:83
You may be more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you:
- Have family history of Type 2 Diabetes
- have an autoimmune disease
- have food allergies or sensitivities, often not diagnosed
- have inflammation
- have bacteria imbalance in your gut or poor gut health
- have hidden infections
- Don’t exercise
- Are African-American, Latino, Native American or Pacific Islander
- Had gestational diabetes (during pregnancy)
- Gave birth to a baby over 9 lbs.
- Are over age 45
- Are overweight or obese (especially belly fat around the middle)
- High Cholesterol
- Low HDL Cholesterol
- High LDL Cholesterol
- High Triglycerides
Evidence of advancing Diabetes
- Increased dosage of medication required to control A1C
- Increased number of medications
- Recent weight gain or unexplained weight loss
- Slow-healing cuts or sores
- Itchiness (especially around the crotch)
- Decreased vision
- Erectile dysfunction or impotency
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Frequent yeast infections
- Toe fungus
- Velvety light-brown to black markings around the neck, armpits, crotch or under breasts
- Skin conditions, rashes, discolorations
- Fatty liver
- Arthritis and fibromyalgia
- Poor sleep patterns
- Always tired, lack of motivation and drive
- Memory loss
- More than one Blood sugar medication or a need for insulin
- High blood pressure
More advanced effects of Type 2 Diabetes include:
Three or more blood sugar medications, blood pressure and other associated medications
- Cardiovascular disease including heart attack and stroke
- Kidney failure
- Blindness from Retinal damage and loss of sight
- Fatty liver disease
- Recurrent infections
- Severe inflammation, fibromyalgia, arthritis
- Neuropathy and foot infection leading to amputation
- Gastroparesis, gut problems
- Cognitive decline
- Loss of will to survive
The single most common recommendation by most doctors in preventing Type 2 Diabetes is to avoid obesity. But this can be a frustration for patients. On the one hand, you are being told to lose weight while on the other hand you are being given medications which may cause weight gain. We find that often there are underlying organs or system dysfunctions which may or may not be related to weight that have contributed to or caused the blood sugar handling issues.Through thorough functional diagnostic workup, these underlying triggers can be discovered, addressed and removed.
Standard Diagnosis & Testing
There are 3 tests that are performed to diagnose Type 2 Diabetes but be aware that just making a diagnosis doesn’t give us the root cause as no two patients are alike and many patients have a complexity to their condition that requires an individualized approach.
Fasting Plasma Glucose Test This test is typically performed in the morning before breakfast and requires an 8-hour fast prior to drawing blood for a glucose reading. The fasting plasma glucose test is good for diagnosing both pre-diabetes and diabetes as indicated by your blood sugar levels:
- Normal blood sugar = less than 100mg per dl (deciliter)
- Pre-diabetes = between 100mg - 125mg/dl
- Diabetes = over 125mg/dl
THIS TEST IS A GREAT DIAGNOSTIC TOOL AND IS CHEAPER THAN THE GOLD-STANDARD A1C TEST.
A1C Test This test measures the glucose levels in your blood over the past 2-3 months and is considered the primary test for diagnosing pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Because hemoglobin cells are constantly dying and regenerating with a lifespan of approximately 3 months, the A1C test is able to measure the number of hemoglobin cells that have glucose attached to them, it can tell us what your past glucose levels have been.
- Normal = below 5.7%
- Pre-diabetes = between 5.7% - 6.4%
- Diabetes = over 6.4%
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test This test is also performed after an 8-hour fast. You will have your blood tested to get a baseline and then you will be given a sugary drink after which your blood will be tested every hour for 3-4 total intervals: fasting, 1-hour after, 2-hours after and sometimes 3-hours after. Your blood sugar or glucose reading is taken at each interval but doesn’t account for insulin resistance identification. Results are generally indicated after 2-hours from the initial reading:
- Normal = less than 140 mg/dl
- Pre-diabetes = 140 - 199 mg/dl
- Diabetes = over 199 mg/dl
Type 2 diabetes causes
Although obesity is commonly thought to be a contributor or cause of Type 2 Diabetes, there are other causes that can contribute as well as. Many of our patients are “skinny diabetics” and have never experienced obesity. Many have autoimmunity as a cause or contributor to their diabetes. If you have other autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for example, your risk of developing diabetes is greater. If you have a family history of diabetes you are at a much greater risk.
Genetics In the 10% of people who have a genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes, diabetes can by caused by either of these scenarios:
- The pancreas does not produce insulin
- The pancreas produces very little insulin
Don’t despair as there are often ways to counter this.
Example: Undetected food allergies are a frequent contributors and they can be familial or inherited. Once they are detected your diet can be tailored.
In recent years Epigenetics has taught us that genetic predisposition can be turned on or off to varying degrees by controllable circumstances (like lifestyle choices including diet and exposure to food allergies). In other words you may have a predisposition but what you do can determined whether that predisposition is expressed or not.
Insulin Resistance is usually the opposite. Instead of a shortage of insulin there usually has been an abundance of insulin released over months or years as a result of blood sugar spikes. The body has become calloused or desensitized to the insulin and does not respond appropriately to the insulin produced. This can usually be reversed through various nutritional strategies.
The Age of Onset Type 2 diabetes typically occurs in people over the age of 45 and risk increases significantly over the age of 65.
Lifestyle choices that can cause diabetes include:
Diet: A diet lacking in fiber and high in sugar contributes to diabetes. Plant- based diets tend to decrease progression and help to control the disease. Low carb diets and lower calorie diets allow the body to handle lower amounts of glucose across a longer time span. But this is just scratching the surface. If it were that simple diabetes would be on the decline instead it continues to rise. We have to determine which foods you are reacting to.
Breakfast: Breakfast timing is important as well as what you first put in your body. You should be fasting enough in between your last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day (in which you break your fast) to create an insulin sensitive situation however in the early stages of recovery this may not be appropriate. Lower glycemic foods first tend to perform better than high-glycemic or sugary ones.
Fasting: can lower blood sugar by giving the body more time in which to synthesize glucose, however most of our patients never need to feel hunger. In fact that is one of the beauties of our approach is that you can always feel satisfied and don’t need to starve yourself. Later in your recovery when your situation is more stable you may desire to use intermittent fasting as a strategy but I don’t recommend it without a doctor’s supervision. Intermittent fasting could help control diabetes but should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
Exercise and Weight Loss: An influential change that you can make is to participate in daily exercise but most patients have no energy and too much inflammation to do so and are not required to exercise, especially in the early stages of your recovery. In fact exercise can be detrimental when your condition is unstable. Within no time most patients are excited to be able to exercise again. Maintaining a healthy weight by proper diet and exercise is the best way of preventing type 2 diabetes.
Is Type 2 Diabetes Reversible?
Although the medical community has not released any definitive statement on the reversibility or curability of type 2 diabetes, many independent studies and reports give us evidence that in most cases type 2 diabetes, as well as its damage, can be reversed. Of course, there are some with underlying factors that can be more difficult, but Type 2 Diabetes is reversible and most see results immediately once we have dialed in on their underlying causes through specialized testing, tailored lifestyle changes to their needs and proper supplementation.
Obesity is only one factor in predicting diabetes. It can be controllable unless you are on diabetic medications or have undiagnosed food sensitivities which cause weight gain. Exercise is helpful in reducing blood sugar but is often not an option for more advanced diabetics and is not essential in the initial stages of recovery. Modifying diet according to detected food sensitivities, monitoring quantity and quality of foods can over time reduce weight and increase overall quality of life.
Type 2 Diabetes Supplements
There are natural remedies and nutritional support to aid in the reversal of type 2 diabetes but they can be unique to each individual depending on the root cause of their condition as detected by specialized testing. Our detailed discovery and customized testing will be able to guide you to a specific plan to help you with your diabetes.
Conclusion: Type 2 Diabetes is mainly caused by lifestyle choices that can compound over time and increase with age. Though making lifestyle changes can help, when damage has occurred certain steps must be taken to stop progression, control the disease and begin to reverse its effects. Specialized testing is key. Customized supplementation with detoxification, cleansing and aiding a diet and exercise regimen can save your life. Faced with severe complications such as amputation, kidney failure and loss of sight, a lifestyle change seems the easy choice to make.