Complementary Medicine - Cam
Type 1 Diabetes (Holistic)
About This Condition
Also known as childhood-onset diabetes, type 1 diabetes requires regular blood sugar tests and medical intervention. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
About This Condition
Diabetes mellitus is an inability to metabolize carbohydrates resulting from inadequate insulin production or utilization. Other forms of diabetes (such as diabetes insipidus) are not included in this discussion.
There are two types of diabetes mellitus, type 1 and type 2 . This article concerns type 1 diabetes, which has also been called childhood-onset diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot make the insulin needed to process glucose. Natural therapies cannot cure type 1 diabetes, but they may help by making the body more receptive to insulin supplied by injection. It is particularly critical for people with type 1 diabetes to work carefully with the doctor prescribing insulin before contemplating the use of any herbs, supplements, or dietary changes mentioned in this article. Any change that makes the body more receptive to insulin could require critical changes in insulin dosage that must be determined by the treating physician.
People with diabetes cannot properly process glucose, a sugar the body uses for energy. As a result, glucose stays in the blood, causing blood glucose to rise. At the same time, however, the cells of the body can be starved for glucose. People with diabetes are at high risk for heart disease , atherosclerosis , cataracts , retinopathy , stroke , poor wound healing , infections , and damage to the kidneys and nerves.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Everyone with diabetes aged 6 months and older should get a seasonal flu shot. Close household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of people with diabetes should also get the vaccines. People can receive both flu shots at the same time.1
Unusually rapid weight gain in infancy has been associated with a one-and-a-half-fold increase in the risk of developing type 1 diabetes in childhood.2 Being overweight also increases the need for insulin . Therefore, people with type 1 diabetes should achieve and maintain appropriate body weight .
People with type 1 diabetes who engage in regular exercise require less insulin.3 However, in the short term, exercise can induce low blood sugar or even occasionally increased blood sugar.4 Moreover, a preliminary study has shown that long-term physical activity was not associated with control of blood glucose in people with type 1 diabetes.5 Therefore, people with type 1 diabetes should never begin an intensive exercise program without consulting a healthcare professional.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people with diabetes limit their daily alcohol consumption to one drink for women and two drinks for men.6 Similar to research on healthy people, preliminary studies in adults with diabetes find reduced risk of heart disease with light to moderate drinking.7 Drinking alcohol with type 1 diabetes can result in hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, depending on the circumstances, but moderate amounts of alcohol ingested with food does not affect blood glucose levels.8 People with diabetes who drink two or more drinks per day were reported to have a high risk for eye damage in one preliminary study,9 but another, larger study found no association between alcohol use and eye damage.10
People with diabetes who smoke are at higher risk for kidney damage,11 heart disease ,12 and other diabetes-linked problems. Smokers are also more likely to develop diabetes,13 so it's important for diabetic smokers to quit.
Most healthcare providers agree on the necessity of self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) by people with type 1 diabetes. Advocates of SMBG, such as the ADA, have observed that SMBG by people with diabetes has revolutionized management of the disease, enabling them to achieve and maintain specific goals.14 These observations are well-supported in the medical literature.15 Detractors point out that indiscriminate use of self-monitoring is of questionable value and adds enormously to healthcare costs.16 The ADA acknowledges that accuracy of SMBG is instrument- and technique-dependent. Errors in technique and inadequate use of control procedures have been shown to lead to inaccurate test results.17 Nevertheless, it is likely that self-monitoring of blood glucose, if used properly, can have a positive effect by increasing patient involvement in overall diabetes care.18 Pharmacists and healthcare practitioners can teach people with diabetes certain skills that will enhance their ability to properly self-manage blood glucose.
Acupuncture may be helpful in the treatment of diabetes, or complications associated with diabetes. In a preliminary trial, 77% of people suffering from diabetic nerve damage (neuropathy) experienced significant reduction in pain following up to six acupuncture treatments over a ten-week period. Many were also able to reduce pain medications, but no long-term change in blood-sugar control was observed.19 Bladder control problems, a complication of long-term diabetes, responded to acupuncture treatment with a significant reduction in symptoms in both controlled and uncontrolled trials.20 , 21
The right diet is the key to managing many diseases and to improving general quality of life. For this condition, scientific research has found benefit in the following healthy eating tips.
What Are Star Ratings?
Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
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