There is no cure for diabetes. Neither type 1 (juvenile onset or insulin-requiring) diabetes or type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes ever disappears.
Is There a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes?
In type 1 diabetes, patients in some cases experience what physicians have concerned call a “honeymoon period” quickly after the disease is detected. During the “honeymoon period” diabetes may appear to go away for a period of a couple of months to a year. The patient’s insulin requirements are minimal and some patients may in fact find they can preserve normal or near normal blood glucose taking little or no insulin.
It would be an error to presume that the diabetes has gone away, however. Essentially, type 1 diabetes happens when about 90 percent of the body’s insulin-producing cells have been damaged. At the time that type 1 diabetes is detected, a lot of patients still are producing some insulin. If obvious symptoms of type 1 diabetes emerge when the patient has an illness, infection or cold, for instance, as soon as the disease subsides the body’s insulin needs might reduce. At this moment, the variety of insulin-producing cells remaining may be enough — for the minute — to fulfill the person’s insulin requires again.
However the procedure that has damaged 90 percent of the insulin-producing cells will ultimately ruin the remaining insulin-producing cells. And as that damage continues, the quantity of injected insulin the patient requirements will increase — and eventually the patient will be totally dependent on insulin injections.
Scientists now believe that it is very important for individuals with newly diagnosed diabetes to continue taking some insulin by injection even during the honeymoon period. Why? Because they have some clinical evidence to recommend that doing so will help maintain the few staying insulin-producing cells for a while longer.
Patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may discover that if they are obese at medical diagnosis and after that reduce weight and begin routine exercise, their blood glucose returns to normal. Does this mean diabetes has disappeared? No. The development of type 2 diabetes is a progressive process, too, in which the body becomes unable to produce sufficient insulin for its needs and/or the body’s cells become resistant to insulin’s effects. Slowly the patient goes from having “impaired glucose tolerance” — a reduced but still adequate ability to convert food into energy — to having “diabetes.”
If the patient were to gain weight back or downsize on their physical activity program, high blood glucose would return. If they were to eat way too much at a meal, their blood glucose probably would continue to go higher than somebody without diabetes. Likewise, the decreased insulin production and/or increased insulin resistance that led to the preliminary diabetes medical diagnosis will slowly intensify throughout the years and during periods of stress. In time, the patient who might preserve normal blood glucose with diet and workout alone may find that she or he has to add oral diabetes medications — or possibly even insulin injections — to keep blood sugar in a healthy range.
Fortunately for a type 1 and type 2 patient is that if insulin, medication, weight loss, physical activity and changes in consuming result in normal blood glucose, that suggests their diabetes is well managed and their risk of developing diabetes complications is much lower. However it doesn’t imply that their diabetes has actually disappeared.