How to Avoid—and Even Reverse—Diabetes

At a routine doctor's visit two years ago, Atlanta therapist Shane Blasko, now 37, got the news that some 1.9 million other U.S. adults hear every year. Diabetes. "I was devastated," she says. "I was too embarrassed to tell anyone at first."


diabetes-elimination-plan
Nola Lopez
At a routine doctor's visit two years ago, Atlanta therapist Shane Blasko, now 37, got the news that some 1.9 million other U.S. adults hear every year. "I was devastated," she says. "I was too embarrassed to tell anyone at first." Like most diabetes sufferers, Blasko was significantly overweight—at 5-foot-4, she weighed 260 pounds. Her doctor prescribed drugs to help control her blood sugar, and said, almost flippantly, "You just need to lose some weight." The doc suggested a class at a local hospital, but Blasko felt she needed more help. "I'd been trying to lose weight on my own without getting anywhere."

After some false starts, she found Atlanta Endocrine Associates—part of Atlanta Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism, and Nutrition. There, medical director Scott Isaacs, MD, an endocrinologist and obesity specialist, offers an intensive weight-loss program designed for people with weight-related health problems, such as diabetes. In April 2010, Blasko started on the Decision Free plan. She received low-calorie entrees and shakes, met weekly with nurses who helped her manage her medical issues and with nutritionists who taught her how to put together healthy meals, and she attended regular support groups.

The plan worked, big-time. By February, Blasko had lost 50 pounds. She no longer needed meds to stabilize her blood sugar, or the drug she'd been on for high blood pressure; both were at normal levels. "At my last checkup, my doctor told me I basically wasn't diabetic anymore," marvels Blasko, now 100 pounds lighter than when she started. "I didn't know that was possible."

The end of diabetes?
You read that right: Blasko essentially reversed her diabetes. And, most people with type 2 diabetes—which afflicts 1 out of every 10 women in the U.S.—could do the same, according to Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD, medical director of the Obesity Clinical Program at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. "We've been treating diabetes for 40 years by adding more and more medications, with no big improvements," says Dr. Hamdy. "But if you act early, keep the weight off, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, you can put this disease in remission forever."


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Gina Shaw
Last Updated: October 07, 2011

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