Ok, I am probably getting PMS early, but I want to respond to an idea I see bouncing around on the internet-- that diabetes is a choice, and that if diabetics just get their acts together and do right things, they can cure their disease.
"Facing a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, many people immediately ask, ‘Is there a diabetes cure?’ Unfortunately, the answer is no.
"Once you have it, you have it," says R. Paul Robertson, M.D., president, Medicine and Science, of the American Diabetes Association, and professor of medicine and pharmacology at the University of Washington, Seattle. "You can make it go into remission, but it will always be there because it is a disease linked to your genetics. You can't cure type 2 diabetes because you can't make that gene go away.” But you can make significant strides against the disease, often to the point of quitting medication.
Type 2 Diabetes: Diet and Exercise Can Feel Like a Diabetes Cure
Most people end up with type 2 diabetes for two reasons. Their body has become resistant to insulin because they are overweight or obese. And their pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to overcome that resistance.
Diet and exercise are considered essential to treating diabetes. In fact, many people who eat right and work out every day respond so well it feels like a diabetes cure, especially if they lose a significant amount of weight and their blood sugar levels remain stable.
Unfortunately, by the time diabetes has progressed far enough to be diagnosed, the pancreas often has been damaged by the strain put on it. Many cells in the organ have ceased producing insulin altogether, and there's no way to reverse the damage. That means if the patient slacks off on diet and exercise, the diabetes will return as strong as ever.
The good news: If you catch diabetes early enough, you can prevent further damage to your pancreas. That makes diet and exercise very important, and maintaining an ideal body weight crucial. In fact, some people can control their blood sugar levels through diet and exercise alone, without having to resort to medicine."
Please believe I am not trying to belittle the critical importance of good diet and exercise. Or the importance of terrorizing your offspring into maintaining a normal weight if diabetes runs in your family :P But it is a genetic problem. You can have a normal BMI and still get diabetes. You can weigh 400 pounds and not get it. It seems terribly important to me we not forward this idea that Type 2s are somehow choosing to be diabetic. It's just not true and it adds stigma to what is already a very difficult diagnosis.
My 145 pound uncle has what used to be called "high blood sugar". My 115 pound grandmother had it. My dad, unsurprisingly, has type 2. When I was a teen with a BMI of 19, I used to faint if I didn't eat right-- hypoglycemia is a precursor to Type 2. There is some evidence that insulin resistance comes first, and the extra weight comes after-- because your body is crying out for the sugar that is circulating in the blood stream rather than gaining admission to the cells.
You take some poor soul who is always hungry, craving carbs, overweight, with a pancreas worn out from years of trying to compensate. That person becomes diabetic. Then you tell him, Gosh, why are you choosing to be diabetic? In what way is that helpful?