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Taipei City Hospital

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Can Diabetes Be Cured?

Diabetes Remission

       Dr. Wang Shun-he, attending physician of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Taipei City Hospital’s Renai Branch, says that “remission” is the status when no drug treatments are needed to control diabetes. Under this condition, the patient can manage their diabetes through dietary and lifestyle control, and does not need to rely on medication to control their blood sugar levels to within the normal range. In past studies, we found that obese patients with early onset type 2 diabetes still have their insulin functions intact. After heavy weight loss (about 10% of their body weight), these patients have greater chance of achieving remission status, and also improve their quality of life, fatty liver, and sexual functions as well as reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases.

The chance of remission depends on the remaining functions of the pancreatic islet β cells

       The chance of diabetic remission depends on the remaining functions of the pancreatic islet β cells. Generally speaking, in patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes, the secretion capabilities of their pancreatic islet β cells may have been reduced to less than half of their original capacity. For people with diabetes that have long suffered from hyperglycemia but did not maintain good control of their blood sugar levels, the pancreatic islet cells will behave like the overworked employees of a sweatshop, working overtime to control blood sugar until the burden is too high and they can no longer cope with the work load.

Continued lifestyle control is needed even after remission
       Although there is chance for newly formed diabetes to go into remission, it is not a completely cured status. People with diabetes will need to exercise regularly, control their diets, adjust their lifestyles and reduce fatty liver. The diabetes may return if the patient’s lifestyle is not properly maintained even after remission.