Is reversing diabetes possible?

Dr. Besser appears live on "GMA" to share new information for some people living with type 2 diabetes.
2:06 | 03/16/17

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Transcript for Is reversing diabetes possible?
We are back with new findings on diabetes. Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from it but a new study shows that a combination of drug therapy and healthy lifestyle changes may help control the disease. Dr. Besser back with the details. What can you tell us? It's very interesting. So they wanted to see if people who had type 2 diabetes for three years or less whether they could reverse that and took one group and gave them routine diabetic care and other had intensive care and three medications for diabetes, a nutritionist to help them lose weight and an exercise trainer to get them out there at least 30 minutes a day with tough activity. And so after eight weeks in one group and 12 weeks in another group what they found was they took people off medications. Those in the intensive group, 50% to 70% no longer had high blood sugar. That was the good news. Over the course of about a year they all kind of slid back and had to come back on medications but, you know, it was a small study to see if it could be feasible. Because they didn't keep up with the changes. They stopped with the physical therapy -- with the athletic trainer and nutritionist. Maybe if you had that the full time you would still see benefits but gives you some hope that maybe you can reverse diabetes in some people. Soy, people would have dealing with diabetes right now, how can they limit the complications. I think there are lessons from this and other studies. You want to eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. You need to make sure you're taking your medication and you want to work with your team, your nutritionists and physical therapists to make sure you're getting that activity. It may reduce the number of medications you have to take or reduce complications. You have 30 million struggling with diabetes right now and another, what, 86 million or so who have prediabetes. What does this mean That's the group we have to focus on to see can we prevent them from getting it in the first place. What we know is exercise and good nutrition, weight loss if you're overweight, 5% weight loss in that group can reduce the chances of developing diabetes by 56%. Which is huge. Huge benefit. Huge and it's a small amount of weight loss. Hard to lose that weight. It takes a lot of effort but the payoff can be absolutely incredible. Good place to end. Rich Besser, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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