If you hang around diabetic forums much, and to be honest the people who regularly post on these forums are often quite knowledgeable about diabetes in general, but you will tend to see a very strong denial of our ever being able to reverse diabetes. So anytime someone references anyone talking about a reversal, people tend to get pretty upset actually, no you can't reverse it because if you switched to eating the super size me diet you'd see you were still a diabetic and therefore nothing has been really reversed.
There's also the term cure that gets thrown around as well, and that's an even more hated word among these people, but that one I can understand at least. This really all boils down to semantics really, how we define reversal and cure, and while this is a matter to some degree of common usage, like a lot of things are, they still are subject to interpretation, to see if the meaning of the word in general applies to its specific use in describing diabetic outcomes and situations.
So I would describe the difference between being cured, being reversed, and being under control, as having a lot to do with what we need to do in order to not have diabetic blood sugar. So with a cure, well I do think that means that you can just ignore the thing and be fine, like people do when they don't have diabetes and never have been diagnosed with it, they just eat drink and be merry really, and to be cured I think you have to be able to do that, even though this may indeed increase your risk of getting it again.
So in other words a cure would be to return to a prior physiological state prior to getting the diabetes, where you didn't actually have to do anything special to not have diabetic blood sugar. This is what is generally meant by cure and it seems correct.
We haven't really been able to manage that, and even if we did, after being cured of diabetes, we probably don't want to go back to our old ways, the old ways that led to our getting diabetes and needing this cure.
So then there's the concept of reversal, versus the concept of controlled. Generally, the difference here is that reversed is not requiring prescription medication to maintain non diabetic blood sugar, for instance doing it with lifestyle changes, including things like changing your diet, exercising more, and taking nutritional supplements, things that non diabetics would do as well.
So if you're on diabetic medication, well that's not something that non diabetics ever do, nor should they, so we tend to call this phenomenon controlled blood sugar, even though we may be so well controlled as to be out of the diabetic range.
So with that out of the way, the big question is, if we do not have diabetic blood sugar, are we even any sort of diabetic anymore? Well people will fight you over this it seems, they want to say, anytime your blood sugar goes into the diabetic range, sufficient to be diagnosed as diabetic, you are a diabetic for life, you might as well get a tattoo for it.
I don't think that's right though, we shouldn't have to say, well now I can eat whatever I want and I can simply ignore my blood sugar again like I used to and be fine, in other words I am cured, before we can say well I'm no longer a diabetic.
Calling you a diabetic without diabetic blood sugar is actually a contradiction. You don't call people who have never had diabetic blood sugar diabetics either, high blood sugar, diabetic blood sugar, is what diabetes means, or at least that's how we use the term.
Now we could still say, well we have issues that predispose ourselves toward diabetes, and that even might mean taking a bunch of meds and even injecting insulin to combat this predisposition, but if we don't have diabetic blood sugar, well we're not diabetic, even though we may have to fight hard to keep it from coming back.
We don't take someone who has a strong disposition towards obesity but has fought hard and is now not overweight, and call them fat, they aren't fat, even though they might have to struggle to not become fat again. That actually would be pretty stupid actually.
That's actually what we tend to do to diabetics though, so called diabetics anyway. So just like calling someone fat who is no longer fat, this will just tend to demoralize the patient, and we ought to be encouraging them instead, and in fact this is very important.
So now they may be thinking, well my blood sugar isn't diabetic but I'm still a diabetic, now I'm cast in the same boat as these people who are actually diabetic, with expectations of things like getting parts cut off, going blind, having kidney failure, and having a significantly reduced lifespan.
Those are the things that happen to diabetics though, real ones, and not just that but diabetics well out of control, well above the threshold that we set for the diagnosis. So if you are below this, you do not deserve to be cast with this lot, you instead deserve congratulations, and you especially need to receive the credit that overcoming this condition merits.
So it's time we stopped being afraid to say we're beating this when we are beating this.