Management of Diabetes with Diet, Exercise and Integrated Medicine

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic condition in which the body has trouble maintaining the amount of sugar in the blood stream. Normally, a constant level of sugar is maintained in the blood stream by a hormone called insulin.

As food is digested and broken down to ‘glucose’, insulin is released to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. The sugar is worked on and stored in muscle, fat or liver for use later.

Kinds

  • Prediabetes is when the sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be known as diabetic. The cells of the body may be becoming resistant to insulin. Left unmonitored and uncared for, prediabetics usually become diabetics. But it can be controlled with proper care, diet, exercise and serious lifestyle changes.
  • Type I diabetes: When sugar is out of control, it is usually because not enough insulin is being made. Usually diagnosed in young patients.Other names are insulin dependent diabetes, early onset diabetes, or juvenile diabetes. These patients will probably have to take insulin for the rest of their lives. They must also always carefully monitor blood sugar levels and watch their diet.
  • Type II diabetes: is when the insulin is not working. Much more common and this is usually diagnosed in adults. Obesity and other illnesses are making this more common in younger patients. People at high risk for Diabetes II are people with a lot of belly fat, smokers, people who drink more than one soda a day, men who have low testosterone levels and people who have diabetes in their families.

Occasionally, the type indeterminable:

  • Gestational diabetes: is a temporary imbalance in pregnant women. However, may become long term due to family history and other factors.

Both hypo (low) and hyper (high) glycemia (sugar in the blood) are bad for the patients health and sugar levels must be maintained with medication, diet, exercise and careful monitoring of health. Here are a few symptoms that indicate Diabetes.

Symptoms:

  • Excess unquenchable thirst
  • Excess hunger
  • Excess urination
  • Weakness
  • Blurry visions
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Weight loss
  • Dry itchy skin

Occasionally, there are no symptoms and only a test will find the diabetes. Long standing un-diagnosed diabetes can cause serious eye, kidney, nervous and cardiovascular problems.

Diagnosis: Usually based on the following tests.

  • HbA1c
  • Fasting, Random and Post Prandial blood glucose test
  • Glucose tolerance test

Treatment:

  • There is no known cure for Diabetes I. It can be managed very well however, with insulin, diet and exercise.
  • Insulin is the hormone made in the pancreas that helps stabilize the amount of ‘glucose’ in the blood, by metabolizing carbohydrate as needed. It needs to be introduced in the body for diabetics. Insulin may be human, synthetic or animal. Over 40 varieties of insulin are available in the market today and diabetics need to educated themselves, along with the help of their healthcare provider about what is most appropriate for them.
  • Diabetes II also, can be managed well with appropriate care.

Proper and constant monitoring of blood sugar is imperative. Controlling other issues like blood pressure, cholesterol, cessation of smoking etc can avoid damage to other systems of the body.

Home remedies: Nature is truly an amazing resource for controlling diabetes. However, these techniques must be followed religiously and for a few weeks before effects are seen. They are well worth the work and perseverance.

  • Bittergourd: eat the vegetable or drink its juice.
  • Cinnamon: Drink some cinnamon in warm water or put some in your tea and foods
  • Garlic and Onions: are known to contain blood sugar levels. Add to your food or garlic pills are now easily available.
  • Basil leaves (tulsi): Chew on a few leaves every morning.
  • Fenugreek (methi): Two spoons of methi seeds soaked overnight. Drink the water and the seeds in the morning.
  • Amla (Indian gooseberry): Two tablespoons of amla juice in water on a empty stomach.
  • Curry leaves:
  • Black plum (Jamun): the fruit itself is native to India. If fruit cannot be found, powders are usually available in herbal stores and can be used with milk.
  • Mango leaves: Soak 10-15 tender mango leaves in water overnight and drink up in the morn.
  • Grape seed extract: Eat seeded grapes or pills
  • Fig leaves: Either boil the leaves and drink the water or get the pills.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in warm water with some salt helps contain blood sugar levels after a big meal.

Yoga Asanas:

  • Paschimotaasana
  • Gowmukhasana
  • Ardhamatyandraasana
  • Mayurasana
  • Shalabasana
  • Pranayama

Wellness in Diabetes:

  • Keep your mouth clean: Diabetics have decreased resistance to infections and the mouth is an easy prey.  Gum disease progresses fast and is difficult to control. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day. Get a check up and cleaning every 6 months.
  • Lead an active life: Movement and activity are very good for a balanced metabolism
  • Protect yourself from wounds and hurts: Diabetics heal slowly and wounds are prone to reinfections. Wear good shoes and protect your feet from injury.
  • Get regular eye exams: Eye problems and blindness in diabetics are common and one must be proactive in keep your eyes safe and healthy.
  • Keep track of your blood sugar. It is a very useful for you and your doctor. Use this log (link) to help.
  • Maintain a regular healthy eating schedule. Take help from a doctor or nutritionist if you need help figuring out a balanced healthy diabetic diet that works for you.
  • Stay cheerful and happy: It’ll give you all you need to deal with this long term disease.

Remember, diabetes is not contagious but your smile is! You’re stronger than Diabetes!!

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