Is there a cure for type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
Diabetes can change your life, so if you’re living with the condition, it’s only natural you may look for a cure.
There are two main types of diabetes — types 1 and 2.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where the body does not produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels. The condition is mostly diagnosed in children, but sometimes in adults too.
Type 2 is a metabolic disorder in which your pancreas doesn’t respond well to or produce enough insulin. Risk factors include genetics, having a higher body mass index (BMI), and reduced exercise levels.
Currently, there is no cure for either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Still, there are several ways you can manage the condition to live a healthy life.
Is there a cure for diabetes?
Diabetes is very common. Estimates suggest that more than 1 in 10 people in the United States live with the condition. It also affects more than 8% of people worldwide. Over 90% of diabetes cases are type 2.
Thankfully, you can still live a long and healthy life through diabetes management tailored to your lifestyle, symptoms, and diabetes type and severity.
Regardless of diabetes type, the key to effective management is to manage your blood sugar levels through a combination of lifestyle strategies and medications.
Type 1 diabetes treatment options
Management for type 1 diabetes is most often via blood sugar monitoring and insulin injections.
Some people use a combined blood sugar monitor and insulin pump to make it easier to stay on top of blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Following a balanced diet and regular exercise regimen can also help. For instance, a small 2018 study demonstrated that cardio and resistance training could improve blood sugar management in adults with type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes treatment options
Like type 1, managing type 2 diabetes sometimes includes the use of insulin monitoring and injections. You may also be able to manage the condition solely by following a balanced diet and ensuring regular exercise.
Many large-scale reviews agree that regular cardio and resistance exercise is essential for the management of type 2 diabetes — as long as the type and intensity don’t increase the risk of injury or heart conditions.
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Weight loss is another way you may be able to reduce the effects of type 2 diabetes.
For instance, a 2018 study involving 306 people with obesity and type 2 diabetes found that a weight loss of 15 kilograms — around 33 pounds — was linked to remission of the condition for some. Some people also opt for surgical options for weight loss for diabetes management.
A doctor can prescribe certain medications for type 2 diabetes, including:
- Metformin: This helps your body use insulin more efficiently.
- Sulfonylureas: These drug types stimulate your pancreas to produce more insulin, which include:
- Thiazolidinediones: These drugs limit your liver’s ability to release sugar and improve your cell’s ability to use insulin. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved pioglitazone for use with diabetes.
- GLP-1 receptor agonists: These medications promote insulin release if your blood sugar is high. Examples include:
- SGLT2 inhibitors: These drugs limit how much sugar your kidney absorbs, so it leaves your body through urine instead. Current FDA-approved options include:
Can you reverse diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured or reversed, but with proper management, you can regulate it.
Some people with type 2 diabetes can go into remission. This means they reach a point where they no longer need to manage the condition with medication. For example, this may be possible through sustainable lifestyle strategies and weight management. However, neither a cure nor reversal is possible.
Ultimately, once diabetes develops, it is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management.
New diabetes legislation
In 2022, the House of Representatives passed the Inflation Reduction Act. It caps the monthly cost of insulin to $35 for people with Medicare.
Although this legislation is a positive step toward improving the lives of people living with diabetes, the Endocrine Society states that children and adults with type 1 diabetes need more support.
Diabetes is a chronic condition affecting millions of people worldwide.
While there is currently no cure, certain treatments can help manage the condition and prevent complications. These include lifestyle strategies like a balanced diet, regular exercise, and medications.
If you have diabetes, it’s important to work closely with your doctor to find the best treatment plan for you.
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