Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms, causes, treatment, and reversing type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. According to the CDC, over 34 million Americans have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of the total cases of diabetes diagnosed in adults.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease. While there is currently no cure for type 2 diabetes, it can be reversed through lifestyle changes. In contrast, uncontrolled type 2 diabetes can lead to dangerously high blood sugar levels and catastrophic, life-threatening complications.

This article will look at what type 2 diabetes is, its causes, symptoms, and complications. We’ll also discuss reversing type 2 diabetes and how to get started making changes to naturally lower and control blood sugar levels.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is the deterioration of how the body uses and controls sugar (glucose). To better understand type 2 diabetes, it is important to understand your pancreas’ role in helping regulate your body.

During digestion, the pancreas makes enzymes, which break down sugars, fats, and starches. The pancreas is also responsible for making the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels throughout your body.

The insulin your pancreas creates circulates throughout your bloodstream and “opens” receptors in your cells to allow sugar into your cells. It is important that sugar is allowed into your cells, as sugar is one of the main energy sources for your entire body and the primary fuel for your brain. Conversely, when sugar does not enter your cells, your bloodstream accumulates too much sugar.

When you have type 2 diabetes, one of two scenarios is true:

  1. Your body becomes resistant to insulin
  2. Your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin

Both scenarios lead to too much sugar in your bloodstream as your cells can’t absorb the sugar. Some people with type 2 diabetes have both the above scenarios, though this is less common at diagnosis.

Insulin Resistance

Graphic showing the cycle of insulin resistanceFor most people with type 2 diabetes, your body becomes resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance means that your cell’s receptors are no longer “opened” by normal amounts of insulin, and the sugar stays in the bloodstream. Your pancreas sees that the sugar isn’t being absorbed into your cells and, in response, produces more and more insulin. Through time, your pancreas continues to secrete even more insulin, and as a result, your body becomes increasingly resistant to insulin, advancing the severity of your type 2 diabetes.

The main method to help reverse insulin resistance is to drastically reduce the amount of sugar you consume. Sugar is primarily found in the form of plain sugar, starchy carbohydrates, and processed foods. By removing sugar from your bloodstream, you start the process of allowing your body to become more sensitive to insulin. By making diet and other lifestyle changes, many people with type 2 diabetes can successfully reverse diabetes. Although you cannot cure diabetes, it is possible to naturally reverse the disease to the point that you do not need medications and your blood sugar levels stay in normal ranges.

Beta Cell Dysfunction

Beta cell dysfunction is when your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin. Your beta cells are the cells in your pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin. If your body doesn’t have enough beta cells, or your beta cells aren’t working properly, your body won’t have enough insulin. In addition, if blood sugar levels are too high for extended periods, beta cells can become damaged and insulin production further impaired.

For most people with type 2 diabetes, beta cell dysfunction only occurs if blood sugar levels are high for long periods and diabetes is largely uncontrolled. Therefore, most people with type 2 diabetes can avoid damaged beta cells by keeping blood sugar levels in normal ranges. Unfortunately, once beta cells are damaged and not producing insulin properly, there is a good chance you may require at least some injected insulin for life, similar to those with type 1 diabetes.

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes and Risk Factors

Obesity and an inactive lifestyle have long been cited as the “causes” of type 2 diabetes. However, it has become increasingly clear that type 2 diabetes is more complicated than just being overweight and inactive. Genetics also plays an important role in type 2 diabetes.

The main contributing factors leading to the development of type 2 diabetes are:

  1. Obesity – a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more
  2. Diet – a diet consisting of sugar, starchy carbohydrates, and processed foods
  3. Inactivity – a lack of exercise and movement throughout the day
  4. Genetics – abnormal genes that prevent cells from functioning as intended

There is a very strong correlation between obesity and the development of type 2 diabetes. This is especially true for abdominal obesity, where there is a large fat accumulation around the waist.

When you are insulin resistant, your pancreas produces more and more insulin in effort to move sugar into your cells. Unfortunately, this extra insulin leads to weight gain and fat storage, creating a vicious cycle that often leads to obesity.


Woman holding sugar cubes in one hand and other hand showing thumbs down.The standard diet for many people is based on quick, convenient foods, which are usually heavily processed and full of sugar and starchy carbs. There is a clear link between increased sugar intake and diabetes. Simple carbs, such as pasta, cereal, and white bread, are digested quickly and lead to rapid rises in blood sugar levels.

Inactivity is when a person spends too much of their day being sedentary. Exercise is important, but even more important is to keep your body moving throughout the entire day. For example, exercising for 30 minutes in the morning is a great way to start your day. However, if this is your only daily activity/movement and the rest of your day is spent sitting in front of a computer, you are still at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes can also be hereditary; however, this doesn’t mean that you will develop diabetes just because your parents or siblings have the disease. It simply means you have a greater chance of developing the disease.

Other factors that can lead to developing type 2 diabetes are poor sleep and elevated stress since both of these conditions lead to imbalanced hormones that negatively impact insulin. In addition, race (Hispanic/Latino American, African-American, Native American, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, or Alaska Native) and age (being over 45) increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well.

Learn more about risk factors of diabetes:

Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can be a very slow progression due to the causes of type 2 diabetes. Here are the most common symptoms of diabetes. Some people with diabetes have several or many of the following symptoms, while others may not notice any symptoms

  • Skin discoloration – dark patches on your armpit, groin, or the back of your neck
  • Fatigue – feeling lethargic and tired
  • Hunger – feeling hungry throughout the day, even shortly after eating
  • Irritability – easily agitated
  • Unexplained weight loss – loss of 10 or more pounds without any changes in lifestyle
  • Frequent urination – need to urinate more often during the day and night
  • Increased thirst – need to drink more water or develop an unquenchable thirst
  • Dry mouth – constant dry mouth
  • Itchy skin – dry and itchy skin
  • Blurred vision – altered vision (typically vision gets worse)
  • Slow-healing sores – difficulty for the body to heal wounds and sores
  • Yeast infections – yeast and other infections (food, urinary tract, kidney, fungal, nail, etc.)
  • Pain or numbness in your legs or feet – known as peripheral neuropathy

Young man acting out different symptoms of diabetes

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Learn more about signs and symptoms of diabetes:

Complications of Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes attacks every cell in your body. Therefore, it is important to understand the consequences of not making appropriate changes. You can expect several of the following diabetes complications if you don’t closely manage your blood sugar:

Graphic of the human body showing different long term effects and complications of diabetes.Blindness – Retinopathy can pull scar tissue away from the retina, causing blindness.

Stroke – Diabetes can more than double your chances of stroke.
Heart attack – Atherosclerosis causes hardening of the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack.
Alzheimer’s – There is a strong link between Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
Cancer – Besides being at higher risk of developing cancer, the survival rate for cancer with diabetes is much worse than for someone without diabetes.
Amputation – Neuropathy is damaged nerves that eventually become excruciatingly painful, and painkillers are of little to no help. Joints can also be destroyed.
Kidney transplant – Nephropathy can lead to daily dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Infections – People with diabetes.3

are more susceptible to all types of serious infections caused by poor circulation.
Erectile Dysfunction – This can be common due to poor blood circulation.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – Cysts can develop on the ovaries due to the imbalance of hormones.

Learn more about complications of diabetes:

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

Reversing type 2 diabetes consists of making natural lifestyle changes to get your blood sugar levels into a normal range. Ideally, this means that no diabetes medications are needed to establish and maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

Reversing diabetes isn’t the same as curing diabetes. Currently, there is no cure for type 2 diabetes. Reversing diabetes requires a permanent lifestyle change. It is important to understand that if, after reversing diabetes, you fall back into unhealthy eating habits, your type 2 diabetes will return.

Managing diabetes is different from reversing type 2 diabetes in that it usually involves medications to control your blood sugar. In actuality, some diabetes medications can slowly worsen your overall health. Eventually, you will be required to use insulin, which can be costly and put you in situations where a reaction is needed to avoid potentially fatal outcomes. Insulin also causes weight gain and can lead to or contribute to obesity. 

By reversing type 2 diabetes, you will most likely avoid any serious complications from diabetes such as blindness, amputation, and heart attacks. Working towards reversing type 2 diabetes, rather than just managing the disease with medication, is the best response you can have if you have been recently diagnosed.

Read more about reversing type 2 diabetes:

The Bottom Line

If you have developed type 2 diabetes, this disease is permanent. Although you can reverse type 2 diabetes through proper diet, sleep, exercise, and stress management, you can regain your diabetes if you don’t maintain lifestyle changes.

Letting your blood sugar get too high over extended periods puts you at risk for serious and life-threatening complications. Therefore, it is critical that you monitor and keep your blood sugar in a healthy range. Failure to do this will most certainly lead to catastrophic side effects and complications.

There are two choices for maintaining lower blood sugar:

  1. Reverse type 2 diabetes naturally
  2. Maintain type 2 diabetes through medication, which will progress to the point of requiring insulin

Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally

Under the first scenario, you intentionally plan your meals, get enough sleep, track your movement and exercise, and maintain healthy stress levels. These are all things that should be important, whether you have type 2 diabetes or not.

By reversing type 2 diabetes, your blood sugar remains in normal ranges without the need for injected insulin or other diabetes medications. Reversing diabetes also allows you to avoid life-altering complications from diabetes.

Maintain Type 2 Diabetes Through Medication

Close up image of diabetes medications including insulin and pillsUnder the second scenario, you may start with low doses of medication. Eventually, your body’s insulin resistance increases more and more. At some point, you’ll need to start injecting insulin to manage your blood sugar levels. Over time the amount of insulin needed may continue to increase as well, and you may find yourself injecting insulin multiple times a day. As we mentioned earlier, high levels of insulin often lead to weight gain and obesity. Juggling increasing medication and insulin needs while burdened with excess weight can make it much more difficult to live a healthy lifestyle.

You Have a Choice to Make

When faced with these two scenarios, it seems quite obvious the best option for anyone with type 2 diabetes is to make the lifestyle changes needed to reverse diabetes naturally. As a result, you’ll be healthier and happier both physically and mentally and won’t be burdened by diabetes progressing to the point of causing debilitating complications.

Although it may seem daunting at the thought of making all of these changes, Total Diabetes Wellness is here to help you through this process. You have access to all of the resources you need to reverse your type 2 diabetes naturally without any cost to you. You also have access to our free Diabetes Wellness Plan. No guesswork on your end, we’ve done all the work for you.

How to Get Started

So you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, now what?

Here is what Total Diabetes Wellness recommends:

Top view of healthy eating, low-carb diet, dumbbells and water

  1. Make a committed decision to reverse type 2 diabetes. Your health and happiness depend on this. You need to accept the work and time this will require, as the end result should be a better quality of life for you and your family. In addition, reversing type 2 diabetes will help you avoid complications that the disease can cause.
  2. Educate yourself. Learn how diet, sleep, exercise, and stress affect your blood sugar. Read these comprehensive articles to help get started:
    1. Diet
    2. Sleep
    3. Exercise
    4. Stress
  3. Take action. Don’t try to do everything at once. It is important that you make sustainable decisions. You need to be realistic about what you can do and not do. Total Diabetes Wellness recommends that you start with making changes in your diet. Next, focus on sleep, then exercise, and finally stress.
  4. Be prepared and plan ahead. Be sure to plan for work, trips, family gatherings, celebrations, and the unexpected.
  5. Keep at it. A setback is just that. It’s only a setback, not a failure. Stay on track and keep at it. It is important to expect bad days. This includes meals, sleep, exercise, stress, and emotions. Embrace this as part of your journey. A bad day is not a bad thing, as it means you are committed to making positive changes in your life.

Get startedUse our free Diabetes Wellness Plan to get started.

Finding a Doctor

If you suspect you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, it is important to find a doctor who will help you naturally reverse the disease and support you with your journey. A specialized doctor for diabetes is an endocrinologist.

Total Diabetes Wellness suggests finding a doctor with the title of D.O, which stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or the title A.D.O. These doctors are more likely to focus on a natural approach and manual therapies than resorting to medications as a first response.

Many people initially diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are later diagnosed with Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (also known as LADA or type 1.5 diabetes), which can be deadly if not diagnosed properly. If diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your doctor can run a quick blood test to check for pancreatic autoantibodies to help rule out LADA. This test is worth asking your doctor about if diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, especially if you’re between the ages of 20-40.

Research your doctor. What do the reviews look like? Do you know anyone who has also seen the doctor? Does the doctor listen to their patients, or does the doctor seem to use a generic approach?

It is important to understand that you are not committed to your doctor. If the doctor isn’t listening to you, or you just don’t feel comfortable with that doctor, you have the freedom to find a new doctor who will help you and be a part of your health decisions. You may need to meet with several doctors before finding someone who is a good fit for your goals and situation. Make sure they are on your team.

A Message of Hope

Friendly doctor holding a patients hands for comfortBeing diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be overwhelming. There is a lot of new information to learn and many lifestyle changes to make.

Total Diabetes Wellness is here to help you through your journey. We created this website with one goal in mind: to simplify diabetes. There is a lot of conflicting information about type 2 diabetes. We don’t want you to have to waste endless hours trying to sort through tons of information to determine the best plan of action.

Check out our free Diabetes Wellness Plan to quickly learn the action steps to take to get you started on the path to reversing your type 2 diabetes.