Diabetes mellitus has become a world-wide epidemic. Twenty million Americans have diabetes, one third of whom are not aware they have it. Within the next few years 250 million people in the world will have diabetes. Diabetes is not a new disease, but it has become vast and growing. Beyond this, there is a condition called prediabetes that affects more than 50 million people in the United States. They are liable for the same complications that affect diabetics and are often not aware of their condition or their risks.
Diabetes is defined as an excessive elevation of the blood sugar. In the fasting state, the blood sugar should be 100 or less. A blood sugar of 101-125 is elevated and may be considered prediabetic. A fasting blood sugar of 126 or higher indicates diabetes. After eating, a blood sugar of 200 or above again indicates diabetes. Another test, the glycohemoglobin or hemoglobin A1C, measures the average blood sugar level throughout the day over the last two months. A level of 5.6 or less is desirable, 5.7 to 6.4 is prediabetes, and 6.5 or more denotes diabetes.
The complications of diabetes are directly related to the lack of control of the blood sugar. These include blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, leg amputation, heart attack and stroke. The risk of heart attack in a diabetic with no history of heart problems is the same as in a person who has already had a heart attack. To prevent these debilitating and life-threatening complications, it is imperative to establish control.
Conventional therapy includes medications, diet and lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, many people are started on medications without adequate instruction on lifestyle changes, and they are not told what supplements are effective for blood sugar control. Frequently medications are prescribed for other health problems that raise the blood sugar, causing diabetics to require even more drug therapy. Eventually many diabetics are prescribed insulin because no amount of medication provides adequate response.
How We Treat Diabetes and Prediabetes
We provide intensive instruction on nutrition. The most appropriate is a low glycemic regimen, utilizing foods that do not tend to raise the blood sugar excessively. These are usually the same foods that control cholesterol and blood pressure. It is possible to have a satisfying diet, without feeling hungry all the time, and still lose weight, and lower blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. We are often able to help patients get off their medications, sometimes entirely.
Nutritional supplements are essential. It is irresponsible to treat diabetes without recommending the most important and effective supplements. We prescribe effective doses of clinically studied essential oils, vitamins, minerals and herbs that have been shown to help control blood sugar levels. It is also the nature of diabetes to rob the body of nutrients through excessive urination, and this depletion impairs the patient’s status and sets the stage for complications.
Exercise is a key ingredient of the program. Aerobic activities, increasing to 30 minutes 7 days a week, are graded and increased according to tolerance. Patients are often surprised to see how much blood sugar can decline through exercise alone.
We can quickly determine if an individual is at risk for diabetes or prediabetes. Cholesterol studies, urine microalbumin, glucose and insulin testing, all provide valuable information on the patient’s condition. We employ other, specialized testing as well. Repeated glucose monitoring permits exact measurement of the blood sugar throughout the day, so patients can see the immediate effect of food choices, stress, activity and exercise on blood sugar. This helps them make decisions on dietary and other lifestyle choices.
Diabetes is often preventable and even often reversible. People who have diabetes or prediabetes can eliminate it, 60% to 90% of the time. With more information and more knowledge, the fear of illness can dissipate, and individuals can be in control of their lives, not the passive subjects of another’s authority.