The Diabetes epidemic - A Natural Approach


Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or commonly known as the winter blues, is associated with winter depression and feeling ‘normal’ or very happy in the summer. Although many variables may be responsible for SAD, lack of exposure to full-spectrum natural light appears to be the most logical explanation. Diabetes is classed as either type 1 or type 2. Type one diabetes is a condition, generally acquired at a very young age, where the body looses the ability to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a condition acquired when the body’s cells become less sensitive to insulin creating insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetes used to be called ‘adult onset diabetes’ years ago as it was only seen in adults, but now in recent years adolescents and children are developing the condition so they had to change the name.

Results of a screening program by VHI published recently show there are potentially 30,000 cases of undetected diabetes and 146,000 cases of undetected pre-diabetes in Ireland, this doesn’t include the 215,000 people currently diagnosed with Diabetes. So not only is Type 2 diabetes now appearing in younger people but it’s also appearing in the general population in epidemic proportions. Shocking as these statistics are they are not surprising. A study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, January 2009 predicted a large increase in the disease in the next 10 years. The researchers make this prediction based on expected increases in body mass. Although this study focused on Australia, type 2 diabetes is a worldwide epidemic. In the United States, nearly 21 million children and adults have diabetes -- and another 54 million people are suffering from pre-diabetes. Ireland is experiencing a steep rise in the condition too.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body loses its sensitivity to insulin, the blood sugar-regulating hormone. When this occurs, blood sugar, or glucose, rises to levels that can, over time increase a person's risk of developing heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage and blindness. Diabetes is not a disease to ignore, as it can rob you of many years of healthy living. So is there anything natural that someone with this condition can do? Changing what you eat and your lifestyle can have a profound influence on your condition.

Type 2 Diabetes is a diseases that can be overcome using two, very straightforward, strategies: Diet and Exercise. This is confirmed by a study in the New England Journal of Medicine 2001 where the researchers acknowledged the fact that diet and exercise can reverse type 2 diabetes. The focus of treatment is to reduce insulin resistance by the cells and to normalise blood glucose levels. Here are some of the key factors:

Weight loss

This is a key factor for anyone afflicted with this condition. In the past it used only be obese people who developed type 2 diabetes. Today there is a strong correlation between excess weight and type 2 diabetes but its not always the case. However it is very important to aim to get your weight into the normal Body Mass Index range of 18-25.

Diet

Obviously a diet that will help a person reduce their weight is helpful, this is really a case of horses for courses and is individualized. There are however general dietary guidelines that are helpful. In order to control blood glucose and keep it within normal ranges one can control the amount of glucose being put into the body. Table sugar and everything that contains it (soft drinks, sweets, etc) should be avoided. Alcohol should be avoided. Healthy sources of sugars are from vegetables and fruits. These sugars still turn to glucose in the blood but in their whole form are accompanied by fibers which regulate the release of the glucose into the blood and restrict it from rapidly spiking high. So consume fruits and vegetables in their whole form and avoid juices and concentrates. Care needs to be taken with the consumption for grains (wheat, barley, rye, pasta, bread, rice etc). These tend to be consumed after being processed and milled and can also spike blood glucose. In fact the majority of clinical trials in the scientific literature examining low carbohydrate diets show positive effect on diabetes markers (blood glucose, blood lipids, blood insulin and weight reduction). A person with type two diabetes would benifit greatly from omiting grains from their diet altogether.
Avoid artificial sweeteners (diet drinks and diet foods etc) as not only are they questionable regarding their safety we now know form scientific research that they trick the body into thinking its consuming sugar and so it releases insulin anyway.

Exercise

Exercise is vital for everyone but especially a type 2 diabetic. Physical exercise increases the sensitivity of your cells to insulin and therefore reduces insulin resistance within the body. It is also beneficial for weight reduction and the cardiovascular system. It doesn’t require excessive amounts of exercise either, studies show that four hours exercise a week is enough to have a beneficial effect. This is just 30 minutes walk a day! Which should be achievable by everybody.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicines can provide great benefit to a person with type 2 diabetes. Gymnema sylvestre and Cinnamon cassia have a beneficial effect on fasting blood glucose levels, blood lipids and glycosylated plasma protein levels. In trials Trigonella foenum improved insulin resistance and improved insulin sensitivity. Herbs can also benefit accompanying health conditions that afflict diabetics such as diabetic retinopathy and cardiovascular disease

A person with type 2 diabetes who is using diet, herbs and lifestyle measures to improve their condition should have regular checkups with their GP in case their medication needs to be adjusted. Contact the clinic on 0719142940 for more information.

Call Clinic on +353 (07191) 42940