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Diabetes Care

Diabetes Care and Reversal

Most of us have a friend or close family member affected by diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has increased dramatically in prevalence worldwide from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014. In the US the percentage is even higher at 9.1%. It is considered an epidemic by many. Though these statistics seem grim, there is one fact that can give us all hope - diabetes is reversible.

What is Diabetes?

There are two types of Diabetes - type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the pancreas has stopped producing sufficient insulin, usually due to an autoimmune attack of the cells responsible for producing it. We will not be focusing on type 1 diabetes in this article as is it much less common and is very different from type 2.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the receptors on the cells in the body have stopped responding to insulin. They have become desensitized. There is an initial increase in insulin levels as the body tries to get the receptors to respond, but after some time the insulin producing cells “burn out” and insulin levels drop. Though there is a genetic component to type 2 diabetes, it is a lifestyle disease and can often be prevented and even reversed with proper diet and physical activity.

How we can treat Type 2 Diabetes

A good analogy for type 2 diabetes is that insulin is the key that goes into the lock, but it isn’t quite fitting, it’s worn out. So its hard to open the door to let the glucose inside. Without being able to get to the inside, the fuel cannot get into the engine-the mitochondria in the cell- to be converted to useable energy. So in essence, we have all of this fuel floating around in the blood that cannot be utilized, and the cells are starving.

diabetes care and reversal

There are many ways to mediate this. My first choice for people is exercise. Exercise increases the number of glucose channels in the membranes of muscle cells- acting to suck glucose out of the blood stream and turn it into energy. Most patients report that blood sugar is lower the entire day and sometimes even into next morning after working out. Long term exercise can re-sensitize insulin receptors, helping them to work more efficiently. Sticking to a low glycemic index diet is another way to manage and help to reverse insulin resistance. There are supplements that can help with insulin sensitivity as well, including chromium, alpha-lipoic-acid, and inositol. In more advanced cases, medications may be necessary at least temporarily to prevent the damage that excess glucose in the bloodstream can cause- such as retinopathy, kidney damage, and neuropathy.

The good news when it comes to diabetes is that it is usually preventable and reversible, and in the last few years, though the incidence is still high, is it slowly dropping. Diabetes is a disease that naturopaths excel in treating due to the large lifestyle component. If you or someone you know has diabetes, ask how we help!