Health > Diabetes
This is a condition where there is an abnormally high level of sugar in the blood.
The symptoms vary depending on which type of diabetes is the cause:
In diabetes sufferers, there is too much glucose in the blood (glucose is made when the food we eat is being digested). Glucose is then converted into energy as it travels through the bloodstream. Diabetes causes this natural process to fail because of a lack of one of the body’s hormones - insulin.
Insulin keeps the level of sugar in the blood down to normal levels. Insulin is made and released when necessary from the pancreas. Insulin lets glucose enter the cells and be used for energy. Insulin is absent in diabetes sufferers. Therefore, glucose stays in the bloodstream and cannot be used for energy.
High glucose levels in the blood can cause many complications and any treatment is aimed at reducing the amount in the blood.
Your doctor is able to diagnose diabetes through a urine test.
Treatment for both forms of diabetes mellitus requires adjustment of insulin levels in the body and strict management of diet and exercise. By paying close attention to the content and timing of your meals, you can minimise or avoid the "seesaw effect" of rapidly changing blood sugar levels, which can require quick changes in insulin dosages.
Diabetes is treated with food planning, oral medications, and/or insulin injections. Treatment methods for the different types of diabetes are:
With your doctor’s supervision , you must work at maintaining your diet and lifestyle to keep this condition in control. You can avoid the disease’s serious symptoms if you are able to do this yourself. Also try to keep to healthy weight
If you have type 1, you need to closely monitor your blood sugar levels every day to prevent an attack of hypoglycaemia. This occurs when the levels of blood sugar are too low to fulfil your body's energy needs. Hypoglycaemia is not dangerous if you can recognise the symptoms.
Hyperglycaemia, or high blood sugar, can bring on a serious diabetic condition known as ketoacidosis, in which the blood becomes increasingly acidic from the accumulation of toxic by-products. This can occur if they do not have enough insulin or if the insulin and glucose levels are not properly balanced or if the body suddenly comes under shock or stress or illness. The symptoms are - nausea, excessive thirst, wanting to urinate frequently, feeling weak, abdominal pain, rapid deep breathing.
Long-term problems caused by diabetes are - eye damage, problems with the nervous system, kidneys, and cardiovascular and circulatory systems. Cuts and sores heal more slowly for people with diabetes, and diabetics are also prone to gum problems, urinary tract infections, and mouth infections such as thrush. Heart disease, ciruclatory problems, strokes, kidney failure are also potential threats to the diabetic.
For some Type 2 diabetics, diet and exercise are usually sufficient to keep the disease under control, however you must see your doctor regularly and if you have any change of symptoms.
Exercise should be an important part in the diabetics daily program - see your doctor before starting anything strenuous.
You should always be under the supervision of a medical doctor, however here are some alternative treatments which can be used in addition to your conventional treatment.
Chinese Herbs- Chinese herbal medicines, including ginseng root (Panax ginseng), are frequently used to alleviate some symptoms of diabetes; consult a practitioner for a comprehensive treatment plan.
Herbal Therapies - Check to make sure herbs are appropriate for your particular condition.
Remember: If you need insulin to manage your diabetes, there is no herbal substitute for the hormone.
Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) leaves in a decoction may lower blood glucose levels and help maintain the vascular system. This remedy may also help to keep the blood vessels of the eye from haemorrhaging if you develop diabetic retinopathy.
Supplementing the diet with fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seeds has been shown in clinical and experimental studies to reduce blood glucose and insulin levels while lowering blood cholesterol.
Garlic (Allium sativum) may lower blood pressure as well as levels of blood sugar and cholesterol.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) extracts have been used to help vision in patients. Other reported benefits of ginkgo include reducing the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol levels.
Onion (Allium cepa) may free up insulin to help metabolise glucose in the blood.
It is vitally important to maintain a balanced meal plan so get your doctor to help you devise one to suit you.
Diabetics should avoid sugar, as it can lower the body's glucose tolerance and worsen circulatory problems. Nutritionists also emphasise the importance of certain foods, vitamins, and minerals.