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Is type 2 diabetes reversible? One doctor says yes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Over 34 million people suffer from type 2 diabetes in the United States.  

According to the Indiana State Department of Health close to 13 percent of Hoosiers have the disease. That’s over the national average which currently hovers around 10 percent. 

Type 2 diabetes is linked to blindness, kidney failure, and neuropathy–characterized as numbness in the hands and feet, which can lead to amputations.

For Hoosiers out there who are a type 2 diabetic, there is hope. 

Dr. John Whyte, chief medical officer at WebMD, says the disease is reversible. 

“If you asked me five years ago if you can reverse diabetes, I’d say no way,” Whyte tells News 8. “We used to think by the time you are diagnosed 50% of your beta cells, those cells on your pancreas that produce insulin have burned out. What we have learned in recent years is that many of those cells can regenerate or at least regain function.”

In order to regain function, Whyte says people have to do the work. This means changing lifestyle habits to include a healthier diet, incorporating exercise, and getting proper amounts of sleep.

Whyte also says doctors are often too quick to prescribe medication. The focus, he says, should be on prevention.