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But new research suggests sufferers could reverse the effects of the condition, which has been linked to obesity, simply by eating healthily.
Scientists at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands found that diabetes patients who followed a low-calorie diet experienced a significant improvement in the condition and their general health after just 16 weeks, suggesting it may be possible to 'cure' Type 2 diabetes without the need for medication.
The researchers believe that a healthy diet could mean insulin is no longer needed for many with the condition, and cardiac function could be improved, reducing the risk of serious heart problems.
Dr Sebastiaan Hammer, who led the study, told the Daily Express, "It is striking to see how a relatively simple intervention of a very low-calorie diet effectively cures Type 2 diabetes.
"Moreover, these effects are long term, illustrating the potential of this method. Lifestyle interventions may have more powerful beneficial cardiac effects than medication in these patients."
Earlier this year the charity Diabetes UK revealed that the NHS is now spending £9 billion each year treating Type 2 diabetes patients and, in the last year alone, the number of diagnosed case has increased by more than 117,000.
Have you been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes? Has a healthy, low-calorie diet worked for you? Leave a comment below...