I believe that the Diabetes Hibernating Mode can happen under some special circumstances and a little bit of luck. It’s what some call CURE. Cure sounds good but not good enough for me so I went around the net looking for the definitions.
ADA dances around the issue saying that “defining cure of diabetes is not as straightforward as it may seem” and that “the distinction between successful treatment and cure is blurred in case of diabetes.” Meaning that you can easily mistake one for the other. They could have just said that there is no cure for diabetes, period.
What is cure?
Medically, cure is defined as restoration to good health, while remission, on the other hand, is defined as disappearance of the symptoms that might be not permanent and can reappear. It is believed that only acute illnesses can be cured while chronic ones can be only put into the remission. I concur with this one. Inasmuch as I want to be cured of my type 2 diabetes, I don’t believe it’s possible. It is however, possible to keep it under control for a period of time yet it’s still there. It hibernates.
You know how bears hibernate over the winter? They just sleep through it, and in the meantime you might not be even aware that the bears exist at all. Of course, you know that the bears do exist but they’re nowhere in sight. I believe that this analogy can just as well be applied to the diabetes that’s well controlled. You did everything right and your blood sugar and other symptoms are normal and under control, yet the diabetes is still there. It’s in the hibernating mode.
As a common misconception goes, only middle aged overweight aka obese folks get diabetes. However, surprise, surprise — thin and athletic people get it, too. Billie Jean King, a tennis pro, is a fine example. I blogged about it another day.
It’s human nature to look for solutions for a problem at hand. The problem is diabetes happening to the overweight folks. Hence a solution in the form of a popular surgery, gastric bypass, comes to the rescue.
Medscape website quotes a study showing that only one third of obese patients with type 2 diabetes undergoing gastric bypass surgery, went into the complete remission that was still maintained for at least a few years following the surgery. Please note, a remission but not a cure.
What happened to the remaining two thirds? Enter complications.
Gastric bypass is a major surgery and the complications are not uncommon. By comparison, back in the day when I had a C-section that is a major surgery as well, I had a complication that lasted a couple of months until it finally healed. Wanna bet this won’t happen after a gastric bypass? You’d be taken chances. And guess where your blood sugar level would go while you’re recuperating from the complications. It’s more like defeating the purpose.
The complications can include bleeding, formation of blood clots that can get stuck somewhere and cause all kinds of trouble, bowel obstruction, wound infection that by the way can take a long time healing in case of diabetes; gallstones, intolerance to certain foods that comes with the change to the stomach size, and more. Think you’re ready for all this?
As if this wasn’t enough, you’ll have to follow a very specific bariatric diet afterwards. In the first couple of days, you are on the liquid diet. Mostly water and broth and possibly juice but don’t indulge in the latter as it might upset your stomach. At first it will be only an ounce of a liquid. Like, 2 tablespoons, that’s all. Imagine that.
Slowly but surely you will graduate to the smoothies and pureed meals. Blender is your friend at this point in time. And the good news is, this will eventually end, and you’ll be back to eating solid foods.
It’s a long and bumpy road to the remission. In my opinion, this surgery as a diabetes treatment is a bit extreme measure and the positive results are overrated while the complications are largely downplayed. It’s like a lottery with only one-third of participants winning. Not saying that it shouldn’t be done but do your own research before jumping in.
Bottom line, I believe that diabetes cure is non-existent, while a remission is very well possible. However, remission can last only so long but not forever. A gastric bypass surgery as a diabetes treatment is an extreme measure, while the results are positive in only about 30%.
All of the above represents my opinion on the subject, including the Hibernating Mode that is my own definition. Don’t try this at home.