reverse diabetes austin tx

The Diabesity Epidemic: How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

How Functional Medicine Can Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar levels, has become a rapidly growing epidemic in recent years. Though type 2 diabetes has traditionally been viewed as a lifelong disease that can only be ‘managed’, advancements in functional medicine have shown that type 2 diabetes can be effectively reversed in most people.

Through a combination of blood sugar management, nutritional adjustments – and in some cases weight loss medications and hormone balancing – functional medicine doctor Ruthie Harper, MD offers a comprehensive approach to reversing type 2 diabetes.

Ruthie Harper, MD, is a functional medicine doctor in Austin, TX, who specializes in personalized treatment plans that address the root causes of type 2 diabetes. In this article she discusses how a functional medicine approach can provide a pathway to better health and reversal of this debilitating disease.

What is “Diabesity”?

“Diabesity” is a term that combines diabetes and obesity, reflecting the interconnected nature of these two conditions. Type 2 diabetes is primarily a metabolic disorder where the body becomes resistant to insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar. This insulin resistance leads to elevated blood glucose levels, which, over time, can result in various serious and even life-threating health complications.

Obesity significantly increases the risk of developing insulin resistance due to the excess fatty tissue, particularly visceral fat, which interferes with the body’s ability to utilize insulin effectively. Several factors contribute to the development of Diabesity, including poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, genetic predisposition, and hormonal imbalances.

A diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugars, and unhealthy fats can lead to weight gain and increase the body’s demand for insulin. Coupled with a lack of physical activity, this can exacerbate insulin resistance. Genetics also play a role, as individuals with a family history of type 2 diabetes are more susceptible to the condition. Additionally, hormonal imbalances such as elevated cortisol levels from chronic stress can further impair insulin sensitivity and promote fat accumulation.

Understanding the root causes of Diabesity is crucial for effective intervention and reversal of type 2 diabetes. Functional medicine focuses on addressing these underlying factors through a holistic approach that includes dietary modifications, exercise, and targeted therapies. By treating the root causes rather than just the symptoms, Austin, TX functional medicine doctor Ruthie Harper, MD can help patients reverse the progression of type 2 diabetes, restoring normal blood sugar levels, and reducing the risk of many dangerous related diseases.

Diabesity Statistics

The prevalence of Diabesity has reached alarming levels globally, making it a significant public health concern. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), over 463 million adults were living with diabetes worldwide in 2019, and this number is projected to rise to 700 million by 2045. In the United States alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 34 million people have diabetes, with type 2 diabetes accounting for approximately 90-95% of all cases. (Note: type 1 diabetes is a hereditary autoimmune disorder that typically presents during childhood and is not weight related).

The link between obesity and type 2 diabetes is well-documented. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) states that more than 85% of individuals with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. This association underscores the importance of addressing weight management as a critical component of diabetes treatment. Obesity not only increases the risk of developing diabetes but also exacerbates its complications, leading to higher rates of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and kidney failure among diabetic patients.

The economic impact of Diabesity is substantial as well. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates that the total cost of diagnosed type 2 diabetes in the U.S. was $327 billion in 2017, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity. These statistics highlight the urgent need for effective prevention and treatment strategies to combat the rising tide of Diabesity and its associated health and economic burdens.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes often develops gradually, and its symptoms may be mild or easily overlooked in the early stages. Common symptoms include increased thirst and frequent urination, as high blood sugar levels cause the kidneys to work harder to filter and absorb excess glucose. As a result, excess glucose is excreted in urine, leading to dehydration and a persistent feeling of thirst.

Fatigue is another prevalent symptom of type 2 diabetes, as the body struggles to utilize glucose for energy due to insulin resistance. This lack of efficient energy use can leave individuals feeling unusually tired or sluggish. Additional symptoms include blurred vision, slow-healing sores, and frequent infections.

High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to vision problems. Similarly, elevated glucose can impair immune function and circulation, making it harder for the body to heal wounds and fight off infections. Recognizing these symptoms and seeking medical evaluation is crucial for early diagnosis and effective management of type 2 diabetes.

Dangers of Type 2 Diabetes

If left untreated or poorly managed, type 2 diabetes can lead to a range of serious health complications. Cardiovascular disease is one of the most significant risks, as type 2 diabetes increases the likelihood of developing conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and nerves that control the heart, leading to increased cardiovascular risk.

Type 2 diabetes also poses a threat to kidney health, with diabetic nephropathy being a common complication. Over time, high glucose levels can damage the delicate filtering system in the kidneys, leading to chronic kidney disease or kidney failure. This condition may require dialysis or a kidney transplant in severe cases.

Neuropathy, or nerve damage, is another potential complication of diabesity. High blood sugar levels can injure nerves throughout the body, causing pain, tingling, or loss of sensation, particularly in the extremities. Diabetic neuropathy can also affect the digestive system, urinary tract, and other bodily functions, leading to a range of health issues. Additionally, diabetes increases the risk of developing skin conditions, infections, and complications such as diabetic foot ulcers, which can lead to serious infections and even amputation if not properly managed.

How Functional Medicine Reverses Type 2 Diabetes

Functional medicine offers a comprehensive approach to reversing type 2 diabetes by focusing on the root causes of the condition rather than just managing symptoms. This personalized approach involves addressing insulin resistance, inflammation, hormonal imbalances, and other underlying factors that contribute to type 2 diabetes.

One of the key strategies in functional medicine is dietary modification. By adopting a low-glycemic, nutrient-dense diet that emphasizes whole foods, patients can improve insulin sensitivity and stabilize blood sugar levels. Functional medicine practitioners often recommend eliminating processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats while increasing intake of vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids. This dietary approach helps reduce inflammation and support overall metabolic health.

Functional medicine also incorporates advanced diagnostic testing to identify specific nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, and hormonal imbalances. This comprehensive testing allows for targeted interventions, such as personalized supplementation, gut health optimization, and lifestyle changes. By addressing these underlying issues, functional medicine aims to restore balance and improve the body’s natural ability to regulate blood sugar.

Weight Loss to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Weight loss is a critical component of reversing type 2 diabetes, as excess weight contributes to insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction. Functional medicine approaches weight loss through a combination of dietary adjustments, exercise, and, when appropriate, hormonal balancing and/or weight loss medications.

The new generation of medications such as Ozempic, Wegovy, Semaglutide, Tirzepatide, and Mounjaro have shown promise in improving blood sugar control, as well as aiding in weight loss. These medications work by mimicking hormones that regulate appetite and insulin secretion, helping patients achieve better glucose control and reduced body weight.

Ozempic and Wegovy, for instance, are GLP-1 receptor agonists that promote satiety and slow gastric emptying, leading to reduced calorie intake and weight loss. Tirzepatide and Mounjaro offer dual action on GLP-1 and GIP receptors, providing enhanced benefits for weight loss and glycemic control.

In addition to medications, functional medicine emphasizes individualized diet plans tailored to each patient’s needs and preferences. These plans often include balanced macronutrient ratios, controlled portions, and meal timing strategies to optimize metabolic function and support sustainable weight loss. Regular physical activity is also encouraged to enhance insulin sensitivity, promote cardiovascular health, and aid in weight management.

Blood Sugar Control to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Effective blood sugar control is essential for reversing type 2 diabetes and preventing serious health complications. In addition to medications, functional medicine focuses on stabilizing blood glucose levels through a combination of dietary strategies, lifestyle modifications, and natural supplements.

A key dietary strategy involves choosing low-glycemic foods that have minimal impact on blood sugar levels. These foods include non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins. Functional medicine practitioners often recommend reducing or eliminating high-glycemic foods such as refined sugars, white bread, and sugary beverages, which can cause rapid spikes in blood glucose. Incorporating fiber-rich foods helps slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, further aiding in blood sugar management.

In addition to dietary changes, functional medicine may incorporate natural supplements known to support blood sugar regulation. These can include berberine, chromium, alpha-lipoic acid, cinnamon extract, and others. These supplements can enhance insulin sensitivity, improve glucose metabolism, and reduce oxidative stress, contributing to better blood sugar control. Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels and continuous education on carbohydrate counting, portion control, and meal planning are integral parts of the functional medicine approach to managing diabetes.

Hormone Balancing to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Hormonal imbalances can significantly impact insulin sensitivity and contribute to the development and progression of type 2 diabetes. Functional medicine addresses these imbalances through comprehensive hormone evaluation and targeted interventions, including bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).

BHRT uses hormones that are chemically identical to those produced by the body to restore hormonal balance. For patients with metabolic syndrome or hormonal imbalances such as low testosterone or thyroid dysfunction, BHRT can improve insulin sensitivity, support weight loss, and enhance overall metabolic function. This approach helps address the root causes of insulin resistance and supports the body’s natural ability to regulate blood sugar.

In addition to BHRT, functional medicine practitioners may recommend lifestyle changes to support hormonal balance. These can include stress management techniques, adequate sleep, regular physical activity, and dietary modifications. Addressing hormonal imbalances through a holistic approach helps improve metabolic health and supports the reversal of type 2 diabetes.

Reverse Type 2 Diabetes | Austin, TX

Reversing type 2 diabetes requires a comprehensive and personalized approach that addresses the underlying causes of the condition. At Prosperity Health in Austin, TX, Dr. Ruthie Harper utilizes functional medicine principles to provide customized treatment plans that focus on weight loss, blood sugar control, and hormone balancing.

By targeting the root causes of type 2 diabetes and incorporating advanced diagnostic testing, functional medicine offers a pathway to better health and disease reversal. Schedule a consultation today to learn more about how Dr. Harper’s functional medicine approach can help you achieve optimal metabolic health and effectively reverse type 2 diabetes – to live a longer, healthier, happier life!

Austin, TX Type 2 Diabetes Doctor: 512.343.9355