How Do I Cure Diabetes?

Ask a Doctor

I’ve read stories of people exercising and losing weight and completely reversing their diabetes. I’m overweight and was just diagnosed with prediabetes. I want to lose weight and start eating better. I’ve already given up drinking alcohol. What else should I do? How do I cure diabetes?

Doctor’s Response

There is no cure for either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

When type 1 diabetes is diagnosed, most patients are still producing a small amount of insulin and they may have a “honeymoon period” where the diabetes seems to go away for a short time. But eventually all the insulin-producing cells will be destroyed and the patient will require insulin.

In type 2 diabetes, many patients who are overweight when diagnosed may find their blood sugar returns to normal when they lose weight and exercise, but the development of type 2 diabetes is a gradual process and the body will eventually become unable to produce the insulin it needs.

Diabetes is a leading cause of death in all industrialized nations. Overall, the risk of premature death of people with diabetes is twice that of people who do not have diabetes. Prognosis depends on the type of diabetes, degree of blood sugar control, and development of complications.

Type 1 diabetes

About 15% of people with type 1 diabetes die before age 40 years, which is about 20 times the rate of that age group in the general population.

  • The most common causes of death in type 1 diabetes are diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney failure, and heart disease.
  • The good news is that prognosis can be improved with good blood-sugar control. Maintaining tight blood sugar control has been proven to prevent, slow the progression of, and even improve established complications of type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

The life expectancy of people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during their 40s decreases by five to 10 years because of the disease.

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Excellent glycemic control, tight blood pressure control, and keeping the "bad" cholesterol (LDL) level at the recommended level below 100 mg/dL (or lower, particularly if other risk factors for cardiovascular disease are present) and the "good" (HDL) cholesterol as high as possible. When indicated, use of aspirin can prevent, slow the progression of, and improve established complications in diabetes.

The good news is that both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be managed and controlled with insulin and other diabetes medications, exercise, weight loss if needed, and dietary changes.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Robert Ferry Jr. MD, FAAP coauthored this article.


Joslin Diabetes Center. Will Diabetes Go Away? 2 January 2019 .

Ruth S Weinstock, MD, PhD. Patient education: Type 1 diabetes: Insulin treatment (Beyond the Basics). 18 September 2018. 2 January 2019 .