There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes which is around 5-10% of diabetic patients. It usually happens in patients at younger age. It is an autoimmune disease. The immune system makes antibodies against the beta cells in the pancreas (which are responsible for insulin secretion) and leads to their destruction. These patients are usually underweight and they require insulin treatment for the rest of their lives (stem cell implantation is offering new promise for these patients). Type 2 diabetes is a completely different disease. It is the most common type of diabetes comprising around 90-95% of the total number of the diabetics.
The patients are usually diagnosed in their adulthood and they are usually overweight. Most of the time, these patients are started on oral medication but usually within 5 years most of them end up on insulin. Type 2 diabetes rates are on the rise and currently it is affecting up to 12-14% of the Americans with at least 38% of patients having prediabetes.
Contrary to the conventional belief, type 2 diabetes is a reversible disease. The common notion that “Once diabetic, always diabetic” is NOT true.
In this article, we will explain the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes and why it is a reversible disease.
The problem in type 2 diabetes is the cells become resistant to insulin. One of the main functions of insulin is to regulate the blood sugar level. When the blood sugar level is elevated, the pancreas secretes more insulin. Insulin causes the glucose in the blood stream to enter into the cells. When the blood sugar level is low, the pancreas secretes less insulin which leads to less glucose entering the cells. It also causes the cells to start using fat as a source of energy to save the glucose to be used in the brain and the nervous system.
In type 2 diabetes, the cells become resistant to insulin which leads to a decreased effect of the insulin in pushing the glucose inside the cells.
In the early phases of type 2 diabetes the body is able to overcome this resistance by secreting more insulin from pancreas. In the next few years though, the insulin resistance increases to the point that even higher levels of insulin secreted from the pancreas are unable to overcome the resistance. At this point, the blood sugar starts to rise and the patient is diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Patients are usually started on oral medications trying to keep the blood sugar down either by decreasing the glucose absorption, decreasing the glucose production by the liver, or by inducing more insulin production from the pancreas.
Within 5-10 years most of these patients are not able to have a controlled blood sugar level using this oral medication and they are started on insulin injections to make their insulin levels even higher to overcome the resistance.
As we see, the main problem with type 2 diabetes is not high blood sugar or not enough insulin, the main problem is the insulin resistance. These patients actually have a much higher level of insulin than their non-diabetic counterparts.
This high level of insulin is what is responsible for the other metabolic diseases associated with type 2 diabetes such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Type 2 diabetes is a reversible disease. Most of the current treatment is aimed at just controlling the blood sugar level and thus just attempting to control the disease (the disease is uncontrollable using this approach). To reverse the diabetes, the treatment is completely different. It is aimed at restoring the insulin sensitivity again which allows these patients able to respond to the effects of the insulin produced normally from the pancreas without the need of using the other diabetes treatments.
As we now know, most of the complications of type 2 diabetes is due to insulin resistance and not to the elevated blood sugar which explains why the diabetic patients end with complications even when their blood sugar level is “controlled”.
By restoring the insulin sensitivity, we are able to reverse the disease process and to prevent almost all the complications of type 2 diabetes. Most of these patients end up losing weight as well as the insulin resistance; which is one of the main causes of weight gain.
Reversing the insulin resistance is not a do it yourself thing. Only few clinics nationwide have such programs and capabilities.
The Metabolism Clinic is proud to be the only clinic in the Charlotte are that is specialized in diabetes reversal. During the last year we were able to reverse the diabetes in hundreds of patients. Many of these patients have been diabetic for more than a decade. Many of our patients used insulin injections and even insulin pumps for year and now they are completely off these medications.
The Metabolism Clinic is aggressively treating diabetes; the greatest epidemic facing our healthcare system.
The Metabolism Clinic is established as the destination for weight loss and reversal of diabetes. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina. www.themetabolismclinic.com