Managing Diabetes with your Naturopath
Millions of people have diabetes mellitus in North America, and hundreds of thousands are being diagnosed from year to year. This chronic disease results when the body is not able to make or use the hormone insulin. Insulin is necessary to convert sugar into energy. In diabetes, sugar circulates in the blood longer than it should causing internal organ damage. Most often tissues in the eye, nerves, heart, and kidneys are targeted.
There are various types of diabetes. Type 1 is also called juvenile diabetes as it usually effects children and teens. Type 1.5 is “late onset” or adult Type 1. Type 2 diabetes is due to lifestyle and traditionally has had an adult onset though recently it is occurring more and more in children. Poor food quality, over eating, sedentary lifestyles, and obesity increase the prevalence of diabetes. Diabetes Type 1.5 is a relatively new diagnosis.
Gestational diabetes (GD) occurs in pregnant women. Though temporary, it predisposes the child and mother to developing diabetes later in life. GD is one of the primary health concerns during pregnancy and can often result in larger baby size and complications during delivery. GD should be screen regularly during pregnancy and managed from a multifaceted approach.
Addressing the autoimmune or lifestyle aspects of diabetes is key. Managing blood glucose levels is imperative. Lifestyle factors such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and healthy eating habits all benefit management. Your healthcare practitioner will help you tailor your diet to one that supports stable glucose control, including maximizing whole foods, fiber, and foods that require the body to need less insulin hormone to convert it in to energy. Exercise benefits all body systems and has the benefit of helping reduce blood sugar levels. It is important to limit alcohol, refined foods, and foods high in sugar. Eat several small meals throughout the day to maintain your blood glucose levels.
Managing diabetes is a whole-system issue, and prime for a naturopathic approach. Naturopathic medicine is both evidence based medicine and traditional medicine. Evidenced-based trials support the benefits of various minerals, herbs, and foods that improve glucose control or manage secondary concerns resulting from Type 2 diabetes such as neuralgia. Adversely, there is also evidence that caffeine worsens glucose control profoundly.
One major difference between medicine being therapeutic and toxic is the dosage. Visit a properly trained naturopathic doctor or credible healthcare practitioner to get information about how these interventions may be incorporated into a health care plan for you and how to properly incorporate an exercise regime.