Semantics and Type 2 Diabetes
One of the arguments I see most often about type 2 diabetes, in forums and as comments online after articles, revolves around these three words: reversal, remission and cure. There are so many people who claim to have the answer to type 2 diabetes either through a diet plan or supplement. They claim to have a cure or that they can reverse your type 2. The argument that ensues takes offense at the idea that type 2 can be cured or reversed or even put into remission. I think that the evolution around these arguments stems from the irritation we feel when people tell us “all you have to do is this…and you’re cured.” I think we get hyper-sensitive and I’m as much to blame as anyone else. So let’s take a look at these three words. Here are the definitions taken from a medical dictionary:
Reversal: A change to an opposite condition, direction, or position.
Remission: a temporary or permanent decrease or subsidence of manifestations of a disease.
Cure: Restoration of health; recovery from disease.
Let’s say I’m someone who has type 2 diabetes (Hey! I DO have type 2 diabetes!! Not much of a stretch, eh?) and I find a food plan that I think will work for me and I try it. I work hard at lowering my bg numbers. I exercise. I kick D’s butt. So now I have an A1c of 6, which is on the low end of recommendations for someone who has diabetes. Based on the definitions above, have I reversed my diabetes or put it into remission? Am I cured? Well, I could say that it’s reversed because I have changed the direction of my disease. My blood glucose was going up and now it’s going down: reversal. I could also say that my D is in remission because I have a decrease in the manifestations of the disease. As for cured, I may have restored my health but I have not recovered from the disease. In all three cases, diabetes is still there lurking, ready to return should I change my habits again. If I did change my habits back to the way they were before, eating whatever the heck I want and not exercising daily, my D would definitely reverse itself again or come out of remission. I would say that all three words are similar in that respect.
It’s all semantics. People and companies that are pushing their plan for your diabetes are out to convince you that they can cure you. They can’t. You have diabetes and you always will. Deal with it. I’m not saying that there aren’t plans out there that can help you control your diabetes but don’t be fooled into thinking that someday you will be able to ignore it. You can’t.
Dealing with diabetes, regardless of type, requires a lifestyle change. Don’t look at is as a diet because you’ll be setting yourself up for defeat. Dieting implies that you’re making some changes for a while to see some results. The changes you need to make to your lifestyle are changes that you need to continue from now on. Maybe some of you who are reading this might think about that and start saying, “Woe is me.” or: “This totally sucks.” Yeah it does totally suck but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world as we know it. Instead, look upon it as an opportunity to do something positive for the rest of your life. It’s not a punishment, but an opportunity. Change your focus and concentrate on making positive changes that will prolong your life; that’s a good thing!
In the end, it’s ok to get upset and rail against the world because you drew the D card, but it’s not ok to wallow in it for the rest of your life. As for me, I’d much rather decide that I will not eat high-carb foods on a regular basis and opt for healthier choices instead. I won’t feel miserable because I can’t have some of the foods I used to eat. Yes, I will eat a treat on occasion. Yes, I will skip the exercise now and then. Yes, I will get upset from time to time. However, I intend for my focus to be on the good things in my life. I like eating in a way that is healthier for me. I don’t really miss the “old days”. I feel pretty damn good, thank you very much.
It’s just semantics, people. It’s up to you to search out a food plan that works for you. Ignore the naysayers and do what’s right for you. Don’t be duped into thinking that you will be cured or that your D will go away. Maybe you can reverse it or see your complications go into remission, but it is up to you to stay vigilant and follow your path to better health.