Type 2 diabetes is a long-term, chronic medical condition. It develops mostly in adults but is becoming more common in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Several factors contribute to type 2 diabetes, including overweight and obesity.

Type 2 diabetes can lead to life threatening complications, but with treatment, you can manage the condition or cause it to go into remission.

Healthline has partnered with Profile by Sanford to provide more information about managing diabetes for better health through diet, exercise, and more.

Doctors don’t talk about curing diabetes because, once a person has a diagnosis, they will always risk developing high blood sugar due to genetic factors and underlying problems with their beta cells.

But treatment can cause type 2 diabetes to go into remission, which means keeping the condition under control. Still, you’ll need to continue with treatment to ensure it stays that way. Otherwise, blood sugar levels can easily rise again.

Diabetes remission is when a person’s A1c is below 48 mmol/mol or less than 6.5% after stopping diabetes medication for 3 months or more.

But remission does not mean that diabetes has gone away. You’ll need to manage your glucose levels with lifestyle measures to stay in remission. You’ll also need to attend follow-up appointments to ensure levels are appropriate. If glucose levels rise again, you may need to take more medication.

Various lifestyle measures and medical options can help you get into remission.

Weight loss

The best chance of getting into remission is by maintaining a moderate weight because excess fat affects how the body produces and uses insulin.

It is best to do this as soon as possible after diagnosis. Still, some people have experienced remission up to 25 years after diagnosis.

If a person with a high body mass index (BMI) loses 5% of their weight, they may see:

Ways of managing type diabetes include:

Get physical

Beginning an exercise routine is important for overall health, and it’ll also help you lose weight and start to reverse your symptoms. Ask your healthcare team to help you make a plan, keeping the following in mind:

  • Start slowly: If you aren’t used to exercising, set smart goals. For example, aim for several short daily walks and gradually increase the duration and intensity.
  • Walk quickly: Fast walking is a great way to get exercise. A brisk walk is easy to do and requires no equipment.
  • Avoid blood sugar spikes: Aim to exercise at least once every 48 hours. Check your blood sugar before, during, and after your workout.
  • Avoid blood sugar drops: Keep a snack on hand if your blood sugar drops while exercising.

The CDC recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. Walking is a good option.

What are the best exercises for people with diabetes?

Check your diet

Eating a nutrient-dense diet may help you get type 2 diabetes into remission.

It can also help you:

  • maintain a moderate weight
  • stay strong and flexible
  • manage symptoms
  • boost your overall physical health
  • prevent depression and anxiety, common complications of diabetes

Your doctor can help you plan a healthful and balanced diet, or they can refer you to a dietitian.

A diabetes-friendly diet should include:

  • enough calories to reach or maintain a moderate weight
  • healthy fats, such as omega-3, which may have anti-inflammatory properties
  • a variety of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, which provide antioxidants
  • whole grains
  • lean proteins, such as poultry, fish, low fat dairy, soy, and beans
  • a low or zero alcohol intake, if you drink
  • limited added sugar, fat, and salt

A doctor or dietitian can help you make a diet plan that includes the right amount of carbs for your lifestyle and activity levels. Knowing how to manage carbs is a key tool for managing diabetes.

Some people follow a low-carbohydrate diet, which is no more than 130 grams (g) of carbs a day, or 26% of your daily intake of calories.

Speak with a healthcare professional about strategies and targets to suit you.

Some people recommend a ketogenic diet for managing type 2 diabetes because it can help you lose weight. But research has produced conflicting results, and some studies suggest it may not be safe for everyone.

Instead of restricting carbs, some experts recommend focusing on carb quality. Whole grains, for example, can provide nutritional benefits absent in processed carbs.

For now, the best option is to make an individual plan for managing diabetes instead of a specific diet type.

Dietary choices and regular exercise are key tools for managing diabetes. They can help a person enter remission, slow the progress of the disease, and avoid unwanted complications.

Profile by Sanford offers one-on-one nutrition coaching with a dietician and custom weight-loss plans for those who have chronic medical conditions, including diabetes.


Many people manage type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise, but some may need medication to help keep their blood sugar levels within the target range.

This will depend on the person’s:

  • age
  • other health conditions
  • treatment goal

Here are some types of drugs that can help reduce glucose levels or boost insulin production:

If these drugs do not help, the doctor may prescribe insulin.

Other drugs can lower the risk of complications, such as heart disease and related issues:

Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin.

When your blood sugar (glucose) levels rise, the pancreas releases insulin. This causes glucose to move from your blood to your cells to provide energy. As glucose levels in your blood fall, your pancreas stops releasing insulin.

Type 2 diabetes affects how you metabolize sugar. With type 2 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or your body has become resistant to its action. This causes hyperglycemia, when glucose builds up in the blood.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that happens when the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in the pancreas. Why this happens is unclear, but genetic factors and family history likely play a role. If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas makes little to no insulin.

In the early stages, lifestyle measures can help manage glucose levels with type 2 diabetes. But if you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to inject insulin regularly to metabolize glucose.

There’s no cure for type 1 diabetes, and you can’t reverse it. Still, the condition can be managed with medication. With type 2, you can often manage it with lifestyle measures.

What are the complications of diabetes?

Some 2019 studies suggest the following options may help reverse type 2 diabetes:

  • reducing calorie intake
  • bariatric surgery
  • restricting dietary carbohydrates

But more research is needed to confirm the findings.

Reversing diabetes permanently is not possible now, and there will always be a risk of blood sugar levels rising again. But a doctor can help you manage your glucose levels, which can slow the progression of diabetes and prevent complications.

How long does it take to see remission?

This will depend on individual factors such as your blood sugar levels, how long they have been high, and whether you have obesity. Experts define remission as having A1c levels below 48 mmol/mol or lower than 6.5% after stopping medication for at least 3 months.

How long will diabetes stay in remission?

Experts do not know how long remission can last, but some anecdotal evidence suggests it’s possible to be in remission for up to 15 years.

But remission is a process. Once in remission, you’ll need to keep managing your glucose levels to stay in remission.

Diabetes is a progressive disease, and it can worsen over time. It may be in remission for a while, but you may need treatment adjustments if it progresses.

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which blood sugar levels become too high. This can lead to changes throughout the body and the risk of various complications, some of which can be life threatening.

It is not possible to cure diabetes, but various strategies can help you keep glucose levels within your target range and reduce the risk of complications. Ways of doing this include diet, exercise, and, in some cases, medication.

A doctor can help you make a plan that suits your specific needs because each person’s experience of diabetes will be different.

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, always talk with your doctor before starting any new treatment and management options. Your doctor can help you develop the best plan to address your healthcare needs.