The word diabetes (/ˌdaɪ.əˈbiːtiːz/ or /ˌdaɪ.əˈbiːtɪs/) comes from Latin diabētēs, which in turn comes from Ancient Greek διαβήτης (diabētēs), which literally means "a passer through; a siphon". Ancient Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia (fl. 1st century CE) used that word, with the intended meaning "excessive discharge of urine", as the name for the disease. Ultimately, the word comes from Greek διαβαίνειν (diabainein), meaning "to pass through," which is composed of δια- (dia-), meaning "through" and βαίνειν (bainein), meaning "to go". The word "diabetes" is first recorded in English, in the form diabete, in a medical text written around 1425.
There is a risk that those who attempt it and fail could end up worse off, speculates Annie Hoang, a registered dietitian at Sunnybrook. An individual’s metabolism might switch into “starvation mode,” reducing the amount of energy needed at rest, she explains. That means some patients could regain all the weight they lost – and more – if they stop doing intermittent fasting.
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In type 2 diabetes the body has an increasingly harder time to handle all the sugar in the blood. Large amounts of the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin are produced, but it’s still not enough, as insulin sensitivity decreases. At the time of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, diabetics usually have ten times more insulin in their bodies than normal. As a side effect, this insulin stores fat and causes weight gain, something that has often been in progress for many years before the disease was diagnosed.
Over time, a prolonged exposure to high blood sugar can damage the nerves throughout the body — a condition called diabetic neuropathy. Some people may not have any symptoms of the damage, while others may notice numbness, tingling, or pain in the extremities. “At the beginning, [diabetic neuropathy] usually starts in the feet and then it progresses upward,” says Dr. Ovalle. Although most common in people who have had type 2 diabetes for 25 years or more, it can occur in people who have prediabetes as well. In some studies, almost 50 percent of unexplained peripheral neuropathy [in the extremities], whether painful or otherwise, turns out to be caused by prediabetes or diabetes, says Dr. Einhorn.
For over a decade, Cummings and others have tried to reframe the very concept of bariatric surgery (they prefer “metabolic surgery”). Their work has shown these procedures just don’t change how much food the stomach can fit; they trigger a cascade of metabolic and bodily changes, many of which help people with type 2 diabetes naturally get their blood sugar under control. Some changes even start happening before a patient loses weight, such as higher levels of peptide production in the gut that seem to restore a patient’s sensitivity to insulin.
A positive result, in the absence of unequivocal high blood sugar, should be confirmed by a repeat of any of the above methods on a different day. It is preferable to measure a fasting glucose level because of the ease of measurement and the considerable time commitment of formal glucose tolerance testing, which takes two hours to complete and offers no prognostic advantage over the fasting test. According to the current definition, two fasting glucose measurements above 7.0 mmol/l (126 mg/dl) is considered diagnostic for diabetes mellitus.
It was the same endorsement the first Diabetes Surgery Summit, also organized by Cummings in 2007, had made, but the landscape had changed since then. In addition to more accumulated research, this time, their stance was backed by over 50 international professional organizations, including the American Diabetes Association. And while other medical societies and organizations had long backed surgery as an option for diabetes, the DSS-II guidelines are the first meant to guide clinical practice.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and many other physician groups recommend eating a variety of foods from all food groups: non-starchy vegetables, starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, and dairy. They recommend portion control and calorie counting, and also limiting the following:
Urinary tract problems. Some medications can interfere with bladder function. Your doctor may recommend stopping or changing medications. A strict urination schedule or urinating every few hours (timed urination) while applying gentle pressure to the bladder area (below your bellybutton) is recommended. Other methods, including self-catheterization, may be needed to remove urine from a nerve-damaged bladder.
According to Christine Sullivan, founder of Real Help for Chronic Pain, an online pain management program, “Chronic pain is almost never merely a physical thing. We can see from brain mapping that chronic pain uses very different nerve paths from acute pain. In fact, the brain maps of chronic pain look just like the brain maps of intense emotions like anger, or sadness, or fear.”
People tend to push themselves until pain or fatigue makes them stop. They then rest for the shortest possible time, then get back to work until pain stops them again. You can prevent this cycle by pacing yourself: Figure out how much you can do without pain, and stop before you reach that point. Rest up, then start again. You’ll get more done with less pain.
Treatment for gastroparesis can include dietary changes such as eating less fiber and eating smaller, more frequent meals. Medications are available as well that can spur muscle contractions in the stomach or help control nausea. Another option for some people is to have a gastric pacing device, similar to a heart pacemaker, surgically implanted to stimulate stomach movements.
Exercise is often one of the best treatments for pain. Responding to an entry on pain in the Diabetes Self-Management blog, a Canadian man with Type 2 diabetes reported, “I have cured my back pain completely since starting weight-lifting exercises 18 months ago. I do horizontal and inclined bench presses. I started with 50 lbs and built to 150 lbs. The benches provide complete back support.”
In this diabetes-related complication, an uncooperative stomach is slow to move food into the intestine, and does so unpredictably. The symptoms of gastroparesis include upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, lack of appetite, and reflux, the flowing backward of stomach contents into the esophagus. Wild, unexplained swings in blood glucose are another clue that you may have gastroparesis. For example, blood glucose may go low if food isn’t absorbed until after mealtime insulin takes effect; later, blood glucose levels may spike, when the stomach finally ushers food into the intestine and there’s not enough remaining insulin on board.
This event goes well beyond the initial vision of Wanderlust’s CEO, Sean Hoess, who sat down with me one morning by a hotel pool in running clothes. Hoess is 48, but like many Wellspring attendees looks a decade younger. He just renovated a house in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and is openly “not a wellness buff”—he prefers tennis. After graduating from Columbia University, he went to law school, but quit practicing to start a record label with a college friend, Jeff Krasno. Krasno’s wife, Schuyler Grant, ran a yoga studio above their office, and the three of them had the idea to start a festival combining the two fields.
Capsaicin cream (Arthricare, Zostrix) can block pain signals using an ingredient found in hot peppers. Studies haven’t shown this to be helpful in diabetic neuropathy. Capsaicin products cause skin irritation in some people. Capsaicin cream, which is also available as a lotion, jelly, or patch, can be applied to the skin where diabetic nerve pain is strong and temporarily relieve pain.
Dr. Richard A. Anderson, at the Human Nutrition Research Center (USDA), found that people who eat apple pie have a significantly lower probability of getting Type II diabetes. Upon further examination, he isolated cinnamon as the substance in the apple pies that was preventing diabetes. Within cinnamon, the key substance is a water soluble polyphenol type-A polymer as the effective ingredient. Here is a link to the article:
Ariana Shakibinia decided to study public health in large part because she lives with T1D. She had always been interested in public policy, but she says living with this disease has made her more vested in the healthcare conversation. “I am living with what is essentially a pre-existing condition. I’m fortunate enough to have good health insurance, but it makes the potential financial burden of T1D management much more visible and relatable.”
When Dan Hamilton was diagnosed with T1D in 1972, the doctor told him he wouldn’t live past 50. Fast forward 45 years, and Dan is strong and healthy at 59. He credits his health to the advancements in treatment and care over the years. He has been an early adopter of every technology that has come along, and exercises regularly as part of a healthy lifestyle.
"Yes, it's a frustrating case," Darkes told Live Science in an email. "But the doctors have to be as accurate as they can be with what's happened, so they've given a 2-year time scale for completed type 1 reversal." Darkes explained that if he can go without insulin injections for two years, his doctors will be 100 percent sure his diabetes is gone.
Trick (most important): Go for longer periods of time without eating (yes, yes, fasting). Consume water only for days or weeks at a time. Your fat will literally dissolve away, and with it your type 2 diabetes and other ailments. The definitive book here is Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book, Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Program for Conquering Disease. I highly recommend it; if you’re skeptical, read the 200+ testimonial comments on Amazon. I and at least 20 of my friends have tried fasts lasting days to weeks. It works, and it is amazing.
But does Darkes' story really mean type 1 diabetes can be cured? Darkes declined to provide his medical records, and the experts Live Science spoke to said there were several missing or confusing pieces of information in his story. Usually, incredible medical stories like this one are reported as case reports in the medical literature, the experts said. And even if the details of his story can ultimately be confirmed, the experts emphasized that it's extremely unlikely that Darkes' case would lead to a widespread cure for type 1 diabetes, as reports in the media have wrongly suggested.
You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. Learn more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes.