There are several types of diabetes, which I classify as follows.
This can occur through pregnancy and is known as gestational diabetes . Temporary diabetes can also be associated with a variety of ailments such as viral infection, malnutrition, eating disorders and pancreatic disease. Several commonly used drugs can induce diabetes. Most of these conditions will be short-lived or respond when the causative factor is removed.
Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM type 2 diabetes) The onset of this type of diabetes is usually in adulthood and is either caused by a mild deficiency in production of insulin from the beta cells in the pancreas or due to cells in the body not responding to the insulin that is being produced, possibly even at high levels. The reasons for this loss of sensitivity are not well-established but it is known that being overweight seems to desensitize the individual to insulin levels; chromium deficiency is also implicated.
Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM type 1 diabetes)
This type of diabetes usually has its onset at a young age. It is possible to be born with this hereditary lack of beta cells in the pancreas or they may be destroyed by virus, autoimmune attack or drugs (medical or from food).
The Eastern philosophies of medicine consider the pancreas to lie under the vessel of conception and it may also be the area for the solar plexus, a central yogic chakra. The vessel of conception is an energy line provided for by the parents and therefore a weakness would be, in Western terms, genetic. The advent of diabetes during pregnancy, where the uterus (another organ on this mid-line meridian) pulls energy into itself to feed the child, therefore depriving the pancreas and thyroid of their energy. These two organs control sugar levels and thyroxine levels, both of which can fall, inexplicably, during pregnancy.
I mention above that the most common symptoms are those of excessive urination and thirst. Increase in appetite, weight loss despite eating, frequent infections and slow healing of simple wounds are all warning signs.
More serious complications such as blindness and stroke occur after years of uncontrolled diabetes and are generally discovered by taking the problem to a physician.
If the basic blood and urine tests are equivocal then a glucose tolerance test is performed: a 75g dose of a sugar solution is given orally and blood samples are taken just before and at half-hourly intervals after ingestion. If the levels of sugar in the blood exceed those expected, then a diagnosis of diabetes is made.
Diabetes is not a condition to be confronted without professional support. Monitoring by your GP or hospital is essential. Consultations with a complementary medical practitioner with training in nutritional medicine should run alongside orthodox monitoring. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause coma and death fairly swiftly, and if treatment is required with insulin the same outcome may occur if too much insulin is injected. Insulin has to be injected because it would be destroyed by the acid in the stomach if taken orally. There are several types of insulin, including those made artificially and those extracted from animals such as the pig. There is some controversy as to which is the best type but your individual specialist will have his or her own protocol and this should be followed until the scientists come up with complete answers. Insulin comes in quick-acting, intermediate and long-acting forms and generally, insulin-dependent diabetics will require a mixture.
Do not underestimate diabetes as a disease. It effects over four per cent of the Western population and this number is rising. There is a strong correlation between diabetes and diets high in refined sugar, such as those found in the West. Type 2 diabetes or NIDDM is usually well-controlled through diet and supplementation, and very often complementary medical practitioners will help an individual avoid the insulin-lowering drugs that are all too quickly prescribed by many diabetologists.
Monitor urinary and blood sugar levels through your GP or hospital specialist. They will explain home-monitoring options, usually by pinpricks of blood, nowadays monitored by small computers kept by the bedside. Do not shirk this responsibility.
Consider the Pritikin diet use high-dose antioxidants and follow the advice in the section on atheroma in an attempt to protect the arteries from clogging up.
Ensure a daily intake of gamma-linoleic acid and omega 3 and omega 6 fish oils.
Enjoy garlic, onions and fenugreek in your diet and discuss with a herbalist suitable amounts of anthocyanoside from blueberry or blackberry sources.
Quercetin, lOOmg per foot of height twice a day, should be added to the use of high-dose antioxidants if there is any suggestion of cataracts, eye or neurological problems.
Formulate a personal exercise programme that includes daily yoga. Excessive exercise may cause fluctuations in sugar levels from too low to too high, but yoga has actually been shown to be of benefit to diabetics. Aerobic exercise at the right level is essential to enhance cardiovascular strength as well as being part of a weight control programme.
Reduce stress. Stress creates chemicals such as adrenaline and Cortisol that raise blood sugar levels, and again techniques such as meditation have been shown to lower blood sugar levels and give diabetics better control.
Homeopathic remedies aimed at the individual’s constitution will help, but they need to be given at specific, high potencies and will only be beneficial if prescribed by an experienced homeopath.
This condition is characterized by excessive passing of dilute urine and excessive thirst. It is created by the lack or blocking of antidiuretic hormone made in the pituitary gland.
The causes range from tumour, drug intake (medical, drugs of abuse or others yet to be established), infections and blood loss. It is sometimes associated with heavy bleeding after delivering a child.
Excessive urination and thirst must be assessed by a physician and if diabetes insipidus is diagnosed, follow orthodox treatments.
Complementary medical treatment should be based on the symptoms, but acupuncture, Shiatsu and yoga are considered to strengthen the mid-line energy that is part of all Eastern philosophies of medicine