Can you reverse diabetes?

Diabetes - Healthy diet

Professor Stephen Wheatcroft discusses whether it's possible to reverse diabetes, and the steps you can take to slow down its progression.

Lifestyle changes play an important part in diabetes control. “Weight loss (if you’re overweight) coupled with physical exercise are vitally important,” says Dr Stephen Wheatcroft, who leads BHF-funded diabetes studies at the University of Leeds. “It may not reverse the diabetes, but it will certainly make it much easier to control.”

The problems that diabetes causes to the cardiovascular system take years to develop

As people with diabetes get older, glucose control becomes increasingly difficult. But that’s no reason to give up eating a healthy diet or doing physical activity – these things can slow down the progression of your diabetes.

“What you can focus on is reversing the harmful effects of diabetes on health, and also trying to delay or prevent progression of the diabetes itself – so you avoid needing to take more medication or needing to move on to insulin,” says Dr Wheatcroft.

“It is possible to reverse the detrimental effects of diabetes on risk of heart disease, in particular. However, that’s probably a long-term aim, because the problems that diabetes causes to the cardiovascular system take years to develop.”

Taking this long-term outlook involves permanent lifestyle changes. Dr Wheatcroft suggests setting yourself “achievable goals”.

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