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Information About Diabetes

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a disease that occurs when your body doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't use insulin the right way. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use sugar (glucose) for energy. Because your body has a problem with insulin, your blood sugar builds up. Your body can't use it for energy, average blood glucose levels rise (hyperglycemia) and some of the sugar is urinated out of your body.

Three Types of Diabetes
How Common Is It?
What Causes Diabetes?
What Are the Risk Factors?
What Are the Symptoms?
Complications of Diabetes?
How Is It Diagnosed?
Conventional Treatment?
Natural or Alternative Treatments
How Can It Be Prevented?
What Should You Do Next?

Three Types of Diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes. These are:

The information about diabetes on this page will focus on Type 2 diabetes.

How Common Is Diabetes?

According to the Centers for Disease Control:

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

The most common causes for Type 2 diabetes are poor diet, lack of exercise, and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is something you can acquire. Insulin resistance means that the cells in your body aren't sensitive enough to react to the insulin produced by your pancreas. Because the cells need sugar for fuel, the pancreas works overtime to make more insulin—enough to overcome the insulin resistance and carry sugar into your cells where it can be burned for energy.

No one knows if obesity causes insulin resistance, if insulin resistance causes obesity, or if they develop independently. We do know that insulin resistance is aggravated by obesity—particularly the type where your weight collects around your middle (like an apple). Physical inactivity also aggravates insulin resistance. Eating too much dietary carbohydrate most likely plays a large role in causing insulin resistance.

Over time, the pancreas "wears out" and can no longer pump out enough insulin to overcome the insulin resistance. When this happens, you get Type 2 diabetes.

What Are the Risk Factors for Type 2 Adult Diabetes?

What Are the Symptoms Adult Diabetes?

A person might have SOME or NONE of the following diabetes symptoms:

People who think they might have diabetic symptoms should visit a physician for diagnosis.

Complications of Diabetes

It has many serious complications, which are preventable with proper treatment. These complications include:

How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?

It is diagnosed by lab test results plus symptoms. Screening is done routinely, and diabetes without symptoms may be diagnosed based on lab tests alone.

Conventional Treatment

Natural or Alternative Treatment

Natural treatment (or prevention) of diabetes includes many factors. Note: because natural treatment can drastically affect blood sugar levels, you should make these changes only with physician supervision. Your medication needs may change and blood sugar and medication levels must be closely monitored.

Lifestyle. Exercise and weight reduction have been shown to be highly beneficial. Exercise helps reduce weight, lower blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, improve immune system, improve circulation, lower blood pressure, lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, raise HDL ("good") cholesterol, and reduce risk for heart disease.

Diabetes Diet. A diabetic diet will reduce blood sugar, reduce insulin levels, and reduce the need for medications. A diabetic diet plan includes a low glycemic index, low simple carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fiber diet. This diabetic diet also helps to reduce weight, reduce blood pressure and support overall health and energy. (Note: you should never adjust your medications without direct supervision of your physician.).

Education. One of the main principles of naturopathic medicine is education. Your doctor can also provide you with sample diabetic recipes and menus, suggestions for diabetic desserts, and other helpful information.

Nutritional Therapy. There are a variety of nutritional therapies which may be helpful. Nutritional therapies can help to lower blood sugar and insulin levels, reduce cholesterol levels, reduce triglyceride levels, reduce blood pressure, improve energy, and reduce risk of heart disease. Nutritional supplements can also be used to protect your tissues (eyes, kidneys, blood vessels) from the damage of diabetes.

Herbal Therapy. A variety of herbal therapies may be considered. The goal of herbal medicine might include: reduce blood sugar levels, support your immune system, protect your heart, and stabilize and strengthen circulation.

How Can Diabetes Be Prevented?

Diabetes can be prevented. If you have a family history of diabetes, have "impaired" glucose tolerance, or are otherwise at risk for or concerned about diabetes, you should start now with a plan to reduce your risk. Most important are dietary changes which can help to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. A number of studies have shown that regular physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Nutritional supplementation which supports healthy glucose tolerance may also be recommended.

What Should You Do Next?

The doctors at The Connecticut Center for Health are very experienced in the treatment of diabetes. If you have (or suspect you have) diabetes symptoms and want to learn more about natural treatments for this condition, we recommend that you contact one of our clinics for a free consultation about diabetes or an appointment.


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