Is Diabetes Reversible?
Is Diabetes Reversible?

Is Diabetes Reversible? Chances are, as you are reading this, you can think of 2-3 people you know with diabetes, most of whom have Type 2 diabetes. Maybe you are one of them. According to the National Institute of Health in 2019, 11.3% of the American population had diabetes. Beyond that, an additional ⅓ American adults were pre-diabetic at that time. This represents an enormous portion of the population in America, and the age at diagnosis keeps getting younger and younger. This leads to an important question…


Is Type 2 Diabetes reversible?


The short answer? Yes! 


The Long Answer About Reversing Diabetes


According to research, obesity plays a large role in the cause of diabetes and pre-diabetes [1] which is one of the reasons that diabetes IS reversible in many cases. In fact, one study found that within 7 days of starting a low calorie diet through change in diet or bariatric surgery, fasting blood sugar levels began to normalize [2]. One of the ways that this was discovered was in the obese population that had undergone bariatric surgery. It was noted that 10 years after their weight loss surgery, 90% of patients who had initially been diagnosed with diabetes were still free of diabetes. Additionally, their success in remaining free from diabetes was in line with the amount of weight they lost. Modest weight losses were correlated with modest improvements, and greater amounts of weight loss corresponded with a greater degree of remission from diabetes [2].  A big consideration is that the degree of weight loss is very significant to the degree of improvement. One study found that 73% of obese patients who lost 20% of their body weight achieved long-term remission from diabetes [2].

Similarly, a retrospective look at diabetes in Japan during World War II showed significant decreases in incidence of Diabetes corresponding to the years of severe food shortages [3].


Typical Treatment


Another issue altogether is whether medical providers are educating their patients with this information or have bias in place against believing that patients are able to make lifestyle changes.

Why is it that a typical course of treatment in America includes patients following glucose-lowering treatments, after which 50% of these patients will still be dependent on insulin therapy within 10 years? [2] This shows us that the treatment model we follow is not working. It is not enough to simply medicate. Prevention is key, and early treatment (i.e.immediately after diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes) is also extremely effective if a patient is willing to put in the work for significant weight loss.




There are many approaches to use for weight loss that people have found success with. The most important consideration is finding a diet or lifestyle plan that you can stay consistent with. Ask friends, try a new app, or speak to a nutritionist. And do your best to pair your approach with exercise and a healthy lifestyle. If you need a partner in your efforts to lose weight, move more, and improve your quality of life, schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists today.


Courtney O’Neal, PT, DPT. Courtney graduated from Clemson University in 2010, and went on to get her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Augusta University in 2013. She has treated children and adults since 2013, and enjoys working with patients on improving health and wellness, helping them meet their goals, and returning to their highest level of function.



[1] Annette Boles, Ramesh Kandimalla, P. Hemachandra Reddy, Dynamics of diabetes and obesity: Epidemiological perspective, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Molecular Basis of Disease, Volume 1863, Issue 5, 2017, Pages 1026-1036, ISSN 0925-4439, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbadis.2017.01.016.

[2] Roy Taylor; Type 2 Diabetes: Etiology and reversibility. Diabetes Care 1 April 2013; 36 (4): 1047–1055. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc12-1805

[3] Yoshio Goto, Yutaka Nakayama, Tsutomu Yagi; Influence of the World War II Food Shortage on the Incidence of Diabetes Mellitus in Japan. Diabetes 1 March 1958; 7 (2): 133–135. https://doi.org/10.2337/diab.7.2.133

Are you dealing with pain?

We understand that struggling with the stress and strain of pain can be tough…Whether it’s waking up feeling stiff or severe tension after walking, running, or playing, no one wants to spend each day dealing with the soreness that pain brings. While many people choose surgery or injections for pain relief, at ProActive Rehabilitation & Wellness, we offer non-surgical therapies which prevents patients from going under the knife.


If you’d like to book a pain consultation now, with one of our top clinicians, click the button bellow or have your provider fax over a referral. We only book a limited amount of these consultations each month, so act quickly before they’re gone.

Rafi Salazar OT

Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi) is the CEO & President of Proactive Rehabilitation & Wellness, as well as the Principal Owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and the host of The Better Outcomes Show. Rafi’s career trajectory includes 10+ years of experience in healthcare management, clinical operations, programmatic development, marketing & business development. He even spent some time as an Assistant Professor in a Graduate Program of Occupational Therapy and has served on numerous boards and regulatory committees. Today, Rafi helps innovative healthcare companies humanize healthcare through his consulting workHe also leverages his experience as a professor and academic to speak and train on the topics around humanizing the healthcare experience.

Rafi also authored the book Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare