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October 30, 2005

Type 2

Question from Santa Cruz, California, USA:

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about three years ago. At the time, I was obese (100 pounds overweight) and drinking heavily (five to seven beers a night), which I believe led to the high blood sugar levels and diagnosis. I have been sober for the past year and lost 90 pounds 18 months ago. My blood sugar has not tested higher than 120 mg/dl [6.7 mmol/L] for the past year. I do not take any medications or restrict my diet in any way. When I do test my blood sugar (once a month or so), it tests on average 80 to 85 mg/dl [4.4 to 4.7 mmol/L]. Is it possible that I do not have diabetes? I don't have any other symptoms of the disease, but have never heard of diabetes "going away." I can't seem to get a straight answer from anyone.

Answer:

What you have accomplished is remarkable and you should be VERY proud of yourself. By losing weight and eliminating the heavy drinking, you have greatly reduced the stress in your body that put you over the edge and lead to the development of diabetes in the first place. We don’t say that the diabetes has gone away but rather that it is controlled, which yours is. The reason we say controlled and not gone is because, if you went back to your former lifestyle and started gaining weight and drinking again, the diabetes would almost certainly come back. Keep up the good work!

JS