Is "Remission" possible for me?

By Shelbo09 Latest Reply 2012-04-08 13:39:43 -0500
Started 2012-04-04 17:17:07 -0500

So as a few of you may know, I'm a new diabetic. And young at 21. (Type 2)

I've been doing a lot of reading and research lately…and I've read a lot of great encouraging news, and a lot more unsettling and scary news.

Basically, I've read a lot of miracle stories where people with Type 2 have gone on low carb diets, dropped a lot of weight, and put their diabetes in "remission." They obviously still have the disease, but their blood sugars are in control and that's even without medicine. Just by diet, they have normal numbers.
This is my goal, as I don't want to be on medication for the rest of my life.

But I've also read things saying that this isn't possible for a lot of Type 2 diabetics..
That sometimes your body just can't do it's job on it's own and you will always need medicine.
I've read that in the beginning, most people didn't need insulin for Type 2, but eventually had to.

I've also read things about people getting their blood sugars under control, but still suffered from diabetes symptoms later on in their future. Like bad eyesight, or heart problems.

I luckily have age on my side, and I'm not that overweight. And I'm active at my job, and I started making myself walk a mile every night or so.
Currently I have my blood sugars staying in the 90's and low 100's. Today it was even 89 after having lunch. So with diet and metformin, my numbers have been pretty good, and I'm so thankful for it.

So is it possible that you CAN put Type 2 in remission and not have any bad side effects later on in life?
Say I get my sugars to normal, I get off metformin, and I control my sugars with JUST my diet and new lifestyle…I will obviously still have diabetes, but I won't have diabetes symptoms…is that possible?

If so, will I always be at more risk for heart attacks/stroke JUST because I have diabetes or is heart attack and disease more because of the obesity factor associated with Type 2?

I'm so sorry for all the questions and concerns. I really like this community so far and finding IMMENSE comfort in here. So thanks to all who have been so kind, and thanks to anyone that replies. I hope I made sense to

22 replies

MAYS 2012-04-07 12:45:46 -0500 Report

Manage your diabetes as well as you can, that is the beginning of it all.
There is no time limit set for success, it's based simply on how well your body responds to your treatment and management.

Will this work for you, who knows.
But without taking this first step, I can assure you that the answer is "no."
As diabetics, we are always prone to issues such as kidney failure, heart disease, vision problems, neuropathy, and other complications.

How do we combat this?
By managing our diabetes, the better we manage it, the less severe the complications, or at it's best, no complications!

But you must take that first step, walk the road first, let's worry about what's at the end of it later…enjoy the sites along the way, pick a few flowers and smell them, listen to the birds sing, admire the colors, it's a beautiful day…acknowledge it!


marla50 2012-04-06 01:22:31 -0500 Report

I'm a type 1 diabetic, we call it a honeymoon. we are actually off insulin for a time being. I got diabetes when I was 6 and when I was 9, I was off insulin for a year and a half. I'm 52 now. what is a type 2? Does your pancreas work? If it does,I believe with healthy living u can turn it around. Don't be sorry for the questions,education is your best defense!!

pixsidust 2012-04-04 21:05:24 -0500 Report

I think you have great Hope!
The fact that you care and are paying attention
doing things that are good like walking
Makes me feel you have every chance at a fullness of life
and every chance to be healthy
You have that hope and chance because You care.
You have found us and we care as well!

Nick1962 2012-04-04 18:37:13 -0500 Report

Howdy Shelbo! we've had this discussion a few times this past week. I'm one of those stories (like James) you've heard about dropping weight and seemingly going into "remission" without meds. I've never heard about it being in remission long term, or found studies to support it, but then the internet wasn't always around either, so those type things rarely got published for the public eye like us. I know several of us here are currently winning the battle, and all we can do for now is say "time will tell". I'm glad you're here so that we can have another guinea pig in this little experiment if you'll join us.
In any case, even if it isn't life long, there is one Type 1 here that's been dealing well with it for over 60 years, so i take comfort in knowing that even if things should slide, it's still not a death sentence.

jayabee52 2012-04-04 17:57:51 -0500 Report

Howdy Shelbo! People with Diabetes (PWDs) are unique individuals. Our reactions to a particluar food and or drink are varied. So to try to gaze into a crystal ball and determine one's individual future with the disease is really just a guessing game.

However, that being said, should one maintain normalized Blood Glucose (BG) numbers throughout one's life, or close to normalized, you should have little trouble with complications such as neuropathy related problems, or Kidney problems, or heart problems or eye problems. You stand a better chance of avoiding complications entirely, or postponing them until way later in life.

On the other hand Diabetes is a progressive disease and the effects of mistakes in managing the disease can be cumulative. I don't know one human being who can be perfect in their management of their disease.

Praying God's blessings on you and yours

James Baker

Caroltoo 2012-04-04 17:55:25 -0500 Report

Welcome Shelbo09, I don't think we have met yet. Glad you found the site. There is a lot of helpful information here, a broad spectrum of ideas and opinions, and many friendly, helpful people.

You ask a series of very pertinent questions. Let me share some of my thoughts in response.

In summary, you are a 21 year old type 2 who is overweight, but not obese, and are using Metformin to control your blood glucose levels. This appears to be working well for you as you report BGs in the 90-100 range. You walk a mile every few nights or so and you have an active job. OK, sounds like you are doing well.

Your goal is to manage/contain/throw your diabetes into remission with changes in your diet and exercise routines so that you can maintain this level of control without medications. That is definitely a possibility. On your side is your age, your willingness to change, and your apparent willingness to do the hard work involved in making this happen. It is a good choice and will definitely improve the health options throughout your life. A word of warning though, it is not easy and you do have to be committed to your health, not fanatical, just on top of it.

The link between diabetes and heart disease seems to be two fold. Yes, part is obesity related, but read that as overweight, not only obese. The second, and perhaps more important effect, is that diabetes (specifically high blood sugar and too much unused insulin in your blood) damages your cells which can lead to a variety of serious complications. This is why you will want to not only keep your blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible, but also to minimize the range that your BG will move through each day. By minimizing the range to something approaching 80-120 (optimal & normal), you will minimize the cellular damage caused by more extreme highs and lows.

Let me use my story to illustrate this. I was diagnosed with a BG of 396. Had no idea I had diabetes, but had been in a really stressful work situation for about a month and ended up with a severe infection in my toes, yet another stressor. My doctor wanted me to start with 4 insulin injections/day. I declined and started reading about diet and exercise. He told me that would never be enough. I did go to a diabetic educator to learn more, but I had already brought my BGs down to about 150 by the time I saw her. This convinced her I meant I wanted to do this without insulin. I did take oral meds for a while to stabilize. I used the time to lose 60 pounds and learn what foods were good for my body and which ones I should never have eaten in the first place.

I have now had diabetes for 10 years. I am med free and each month see small improvements in my BG control. People on site tell me it is progressive and I probably will have to use meds again, but I'm not convinced because of the healing that I have seen and felt in my own body. I will be happy to talk about diet and exercise in another posting, but don't want to overwhelm you with the length of this. Suffice it to say at this point that I do believe health is possible. To me it does not matter what we call it, as long as my body can be maintained in a symptom free condition while I eat good food, take a daily walk, and keep my attitude positive. Attitude is very important and has not gotten a lot of attention in the press.

Shelbo09 2012-04-04 18:33:19 -0500 Report

Thank you for the reply Caroltoo.
You really do bring some good news to the table! And motivation to know that this is possible.

However when you said that people told you this disease is "progressive" and that your blood sugars may go out of control again, these are the things that worry me.
Why would they go crazy again if you are taking care of yourself? Eating right and staying active? It's just a little disheartening to know that if I put in years of hard work to keep my disease at bay, one day it may just start popping up again.

I'm determined to help my body in any way I can to do it's normal job.
I know there's not a cure, but I know this disease is very treatable. But for how long? My age, while it may be a helping factor, is also a bad one from my point of view. Me developing this disease so early, have I shortened my life already due to all the complications diabetes can bring?

I don't want to go through serious health crisis's when I'm 40, rather than a normal person who gets bad health problems in their 60's or so…Know what I mean? I want to live as normal and a healthy life as possible.

I know diabetes isn't a death sentence, but it's a leading killer in America, and it just scares me. I don't want this to shorten my life, that's all :/ I love it too much.

Lizardfan 2012-04-05 14:22:12 -0500 Report

In 2000 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. My initial A1C was 7.2 if I remember correctly. Like you I was determined to do this without meds, just with diet and exercise to control my blood sugars. It worked for almost two years. The dreaded word *progressive disease* reared it's ugly head and my endo added Metformin. That lasted a bit, then we added more Metformin until I maxed out on that. Next, we added Prandin. It would make me have terrible lows, I only took that if my pre-meal reading was off the range for me.

With that starting not to work we added Byetta 10 with Metformin. That was in 2006, great control, more weight loss, so happy with that. Until, you guessed it Progression again and that was not doing the trick. My last A1C in Dec was 7.4, so in February my endo put me on Bydureon and Metformin. After a few weeks of settling down it is working very well for me. However, I still have to really watch my food plan to stay in range.

You can see with my history that sometimes trying as hard as you can diabetes presents so many challenges. I am sure that if this Bydureon does not work in the long term I am headed for the last and final treatment~insulin. Nothing wrong with insulin, it is a life saver, but I do want to avoid it as long as I can.

Just to let you know I am very fit, go to the gym 4 times a week and walk an average of 15-25miles per week in addition. So, maybe my story will help you to see that we are all different, we all have to try and do what we can each and every day. Good luck to you!

Last but not least, please don't feel YOU are a failure if your treatment plan does not work for you long term. It is what it is unfortunately and we must make the best of what we can do to manage our conditions.

Shelbo09 2012-04-05 16:05:05 -0500 Report

I'm sorry to hear that your disease keeps resisting treatments eventually.
This is one of my greatest fears, for me being so young.
I have double the amount of years to deal with this progressive disease more than the typical Type 2 diabetic who usually gets it in their 40's.
It's a very discouraging feeling…very.
It's almost like you'll always be fighting a battle and never get any victory's.
That's how I feel right now..
If I work so hard to get off medicine and control my sugars with just my diet and lifestyle…just to know it may very well not work one day in my future, it just really bums me out.

My doctor seems to think that I'm young and caught it early enough to where this would be possible…but for how long is my question now.

Is it pretty much a guarantee that all Type 2 diabetics will eventually have to take insulin?
Why haven't there been more things done to target the pancreas and it's insulin production?
If someone is healthy, and fit with good blood pressure and cholesterol, yet the only problem is their insulin production…why can't doctors pin point that and work on that in itself?

This disease is so frustrating…and I still feel so overwhelmed that I'm going to battle this for the rest of my life. I had high hopes that I could "beat" this and keep it at bay. But now I'm reading more and more stories of this "progressive" disease and that it will eventually come back. :'(

tabby9146 2012-04-08 13:38:15 -0500 Report

not all type 2s will go to insulin, but many. I personally know some in my community that have had it 30 years or more and are still just on pills and not insulin. M story is similar to yours, I was diagnosed at 35 lbs overweight in late 2008, at 43 years old, so I was much older, but it was fortunately caught "early" which can mean, that I have a chance of controlling for many years with only diet and exercise. She put me on Metformin right away, and in 3 months, after losing 25 lbs…I was having "lows" so I was taken off that ,and have been managing by diet and exercise since late Feb. 2009, over 3 years now. It can be done, but we all are different. Some of us can do that for many years, some for just a few. Some, even on here, have managed to start out like us, eventually with medications again, and then back to diet and exercise again. I went on to lose that last 10 lbs. about three months later, it just came off, had started exercising again, 8 months before diagnosis, I know it helped me a lot, in ways I could not see, but the weight was not coming off at that time, however I just kept on exercising for 30 minutes each day. I had made some changes to my diet, and they were not helping me lose weight either, because I was still eating too much of the bad stuff, but once I began eating right most days, I had no problems with the weight. You can do it and I hope you can do it successfully for many years. My last A1C was 5.4 and my doctor's nurse told me it was like a "remission" but it would not always last, I do not believe one can truly reverse it, I think you can be in a remission though. I think many who think they have reversed it, "if" they go back to old ways, the numbers go right back up again. But I do think with lots of effort many positive changes can be made. I still have days when it is hard, the diet part, that is, exercise is easier for me, but I was so scared, I just made the changes and I hope I can keep on this way for many years to come. Good luck to you.

Caroltoo 2012-04-06 01:47:07 -0500 Report

Even Lizardfan said we are all different. Part of the issue is when we are diagnosed (age is in your favor), how much damage has been done to your body before you make changes (probably also in your favor), are you willing to really change your eating pattern, will you commit to regular exercise. Most people say they will, but aren't consistent or don't follow through more than a week or two.

If this is something you want and you will do what it takes to make it happen, why should it flare up? It's progressive for most people because most people don't take it that seriously or because they were diagnosed late enough in the process to have already had serious physical damage to their cells and blood vessals.

Dietary choices are very important, if you plan to turn this around. You will learn through testing and experiments, what is good for your body and BGs and what is not. For example, I would not eat most of what appears in our Diabetic Connect online recipe collection, because by my standards there are few diabetic friendly recipes there. Others find them quite helpful. That is ok, we are all different and we look for our diet to do different things for us. Some people eat to fill their stomach or, in some cases, their souls; I see food as a way of healing my body, so food is medicine. It's a very different perspective.

Follow me back, so we are friends. Then I can send you a copy of my eating plan. It is just one of many on this site, but it works wonderfully for me. You can see if it is something you would like to try or evaluate for yourself. Earlier I stated I was medication free. I should also add that my A1c is 5.7 and my BGs run from 80-120 on a normal day, so I do have reason to say this is working.

Caroltoo 2012-04-04 19:08:50 -0500 Report

I don't see why they would go out of control again if you/I continue to care for ourselves and we haven't done too much damage to our systems before it was brought back under control. That really is my operational premise. I just have to work sometimes to hold on to my faith that that is so, because they are so many people around who say they don't believe it can be. I intend to prove them wrong and my doctor seems to be agreeing with my assessment. I am in good health.

If they are right and you and I are wrong, we will have had a lot more healthy years than we would have otherwise before something happens. We are doing what we can to be as healthy as we can be. That means we are doing something right, even if it didn't last forever.

When I consider that I am now 67 years of age, walk 3 miles daily, push my 88 year old and 260 pound husband in a wheelchair — sometimes even jogging with him in his wheelchair — have normal blood glucose and A1cs, am of sound mind and good spirits, having no discernible illnesses, and feel better than I have in the last 20 years, that's all the proof I need.

None of us want to go through another health crisis at 40 or any other age. Reality is that we live our life, take care of our bodies, feed our souls, but eventually we will all die of something. Between the here and the there, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to keep our bodies and spirits well maintained and healthy.

I am not seeing diabetic complications in my life. I have some neuropathy from an auto accident where I broke my back and I've been told I'm lucky I am walking, let alone running. I was sedentary while healing from the auto accident, so gained weight. I've lost most of it. I've developed other issues that come with aging, but nothing that can be traced to diabetes. In fact, I think I may have identified and treated one or two of the causes/triggers of my diabetes.

None of us know how long we will live. Our task is to live every minute of whatever that life span is with the utmost of respect for ourselves and our bodies and joy in our existence. With that as an attitude, however many days or years you have, they will be good ones, because you will make them good ones.

Lizardfan 2012-04-06 20:20:43 -0500 Report

Carol, I felt so much like I had done something wrong when I had to start medication for my Type2 diabetes. I was doing everything right…didn't matter, progression is just that for me. A gradual state of my treatment~food plan not working properly ends in my endo making yet another adjustment. I hope no one feels like I did, and I no longer feel like I am a failure. I recognize it for what it is, another facet of this condition of mine and just deal with it. My endo gives me great latitude before he changes my treatment, we try so many different things. I am just grateful that I have once again found something that works, for how long, who knows?

I am so happy to hear of your success and the many others here that do it with no medications. You all have my respect, continued success to everyone!

Caroltoo 2012-04-06 20:54:16 -0500 Report

Hey, Lizard. I'm sorry to hear you felt like a failure, cause you are NOT. When I went on medications, I took it as a challenge. OK, what I was doing didn't work well enough so what can I do differently. In your shoes, I think I'd still be thinking that, but that's me. It's a complicated disease and we don't all respond the same. As long as you are working on being the best you can be, and you sound like you are, there is no hint of failure in doing what you need to do to manage the disease.

jayabee52 2012-04-04 18:39:31 -0500 Report

Shelbo, there is a fella who is a member here screen name of Richard157. He is type 1 and has had diabetes for 60+ yrs, and reports that only within the last couple of years has he had some minor complications. He is some 70 + years old so it is possible to live a good long and relatively complication free life.