Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus results from a defect in insulin secretion by the pancreas, a gland situated behind the stomach, and/or defect in insulin action. This causes a disorder of protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism. When a person has uncontrolled diabetes there is an inability to transport glucose into fat and muscle cells. This results in starvation of these cells which leads to an increase in fat and protein breakdown.

Symptoms

Diabetes mellitus is characterised by elevated blood glucose levels. General early symptoms include unquenchable thirst, fatigue, blurred vision, passing abnormal amounts of urine and skin problems.

Diabetics have an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease and loss of nerve function.

Causes

There are two types of diabetes mellitus:

Insulin dependent diabetes (IDDM) – Type 1
Is classified as an Autoimmune Disease which develops more rapidly than Type 2 Diabetes and is more severe due to lack of insulin production. This form has a stronger genetic background and generally manifests during childhood or in people under the age of 30. Body build is usually lean. It is characterised by destruction of the insulin-secreting beta cells in the pancreas. Daily doses of insulin are required with Type 1 Diabetes.

Non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM) -Type 2
In Type 2 diabetes, the cells of the body that rely on insulin are resistant to its actions. Body build is usually overweight and occurs in people older than 30 years of age. Persons with Type 2 diabetes may be prescribed medication as a form of treatment, however, mild cases may be controlled by dietary and lifestyle changes under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Natural Therapies

If you have diabetes, seek the advice of your healthcare professional before adding natural remedies to your treatment plan.

Some of the complications of diabetes may be helped by supplementation with vitamins A, B complex, C and E, Evening Primrose Oil, magnesium and zinc.

Chromium may assist in the regulation of blood sugar levels.

Garlic and CoenzymeQ10 have also been shown to improve circulation and stabilise blood sugar levels, with CoenzymeQ10 incorporating a protective action on the cells.

Lifestyle Factors

This protocol refers to Type 2 Diabetes only

Low fat, high fibre diet focussing on whole, unprocessed foods, incorporating fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains and cereals, legumes, nuts and seeds. Adequate protein and complex carbohydrates are essential in every meal. Simple carbohydrates are converted to glucose very quickly in the body and should be monitored carefully or avoided. Small meals eaten more frequently may also help maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Other foods that will help normalise blood sugar levels include spirulina (high in protein), soy bean products, fish, organic/free range chicken and eggs, low-fat dairy products, seaweed vegetables (ie kelp) and fermented foods such as miso and sauerkraut.

Adequate amount of exercise on a daily basis is necessary for general health.

Avoid alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and simple/processed sugars, white flour and salt.

Remedies

Type 1 diabetes is thought to result from an interaction between genetic and environmental factors.

In Type 2 diabetes, obesity is thought to be an underlying cause of the metabolic imbalances that result, as most persons with this type of diabetes are older and overweight. Those with upper-body obesity are at greater risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Weight control through proper nutrition combined with regular exercise, is an important factor in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.

Prevention of complications include regular monitoring of cholesterol levels and blood pressure and regular ophthalmic (eye) checks. Increased care of the feet should be taken due to decreased sensation in the lower peripheries. Regular podiatry checks are therefore recommended.

Important Notes

WARNING: DIABETES IS A SERIOUS ILLNESS AND MEDICAL ADVICE IS ESSENTIAL

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