Diabetes is one of the oldest known human diseases and affects roughly 6 % of the population today. Diabetes is a condition that causes internal chemistry changes that result in having too much glucose in the blood. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is also called insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). It starts most commonly in younger patients who need regular insulin injections to remain well. This type of diabetes is primarily an autoimmune disease, whereby the body’s immune system destroys the cells that are responsible for insulin production in the pancreas.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). It is the most prevalent type of diabetes and accounts for roughly 90 -95 % of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance are related. The pancreas produces insulin, but bodily cells are no longer sensitive to the hormone, so glucose levels stay high. The symptoms caused by both types of diabetes include thirst, dehydration, passing large amounts of urine, lethargy, and blurred vision.
What Causes Diabetes
There are many reasons why insulin secretions may be reduced, and an individual could be affected by more than one. There is a genetic component to diabetes. Some families have a much stronger tendency to develop diabetes, and several genes have been linked to the condition. Infections are also thought to play a part in the onset of type 1 diabetes. Some viruses such as Coxsackie and mumps virus as well as diseases of the pancreas are known to have the potential to damage the pancreas, leading to diabetes. People who develop type 2 diabetes are often overweight and have unhealthy eating habits. There is a close link between body weight and type 2 diabetes.
Naturopathic Medical Perspective on the Treatment of Diabetes
The naturopathic treatment options for diabetes often involve proper diet, weight management, supplementation, and medicinal herbs.
The power of diet over diabetes is amazing. A number of treatment centers have demonstrated that most Type 2 diabetics can normalize their blood sugar levels by following a simple diabetic diet. A diabetic diet involves eating more natural fiber-rich foods, simply prepared and low in fat and sugar. Lowering the amount of fat is crucial. When less fat is consumed, less fat reaches the bloodstream and liver. This initiates a complex process that can gradually restore insulin sensitivity. Diabetics should freely use whole grain products and eliminate refined and processed foods.
Exercise is essential for weight management. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with being overweight, and obesity can make it more difficult to control blood glucose. Even losing small percentages of body weight can make huge improvements in diabetes control, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
There are a number of dietary supplements with the potential to help reduce blood glucose in diabetics. Most studies on these supplements are conducted on type 2 diabetics. However, the action mechanisms of these supplements suggest that they can be beneficial to both diabetic types. Some of the effective supplements include Alpha Lipoic acid, chromium, cinnamon extract, magnesium, and gamma-linolenic acid.
Today, more than 400 traditional plant treatments for diabetes have been reported. However, only a small number of these herbs have undergone a scientific evaluation to assess their efficacy. The available data do suggest that some medicinal herbs can be effective in lowering blood sugar. The most studied and commonly used herbs include ginseng, bitter melon, fenugreek, gurmar, oregano, cloves, Gymnema Sylvestre, and bilberry. Overall, a combined treatment approach that utilizes both pharmaceutical and naturopathic options maximizes success. Naturopathic treatment options under supervision can help diabetics have greater control over high blood sugar and can help reduce symptoms and complications.