Diabetes Mellitus is an abnormal physiologic response to blood sugar and insulin. It is important to understand NORMAL physiology before we can understand how diabetes is abnormal.
Our blood sugar is controlled to a very narrow range. The normal range of blood glucose is 4.0-7.88mmol/L - these are important numbers to looks at.
We start to have symptoms of true hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can be mild, moderate, or severe.
Understanding Diabetes Type I & Type II
We have a fairly good understanding of Diabetes these days. Every cell in your body needs sugar for energy, and sugar enters the cells through the action of insulin. When sugar can’t enter cells, it accumulates in the blood.
Diabetes: The facts
The brain is a ‘Glucose BEASTLY HOG!
It consumes roughly 1/2 of the circulating blood sugar. It requires glucose (almost exclusively) and this is why most of the symptoms associated with true hypoglycemia are neurologic in nature. However, those who are appropriately adapted do very well with ketones as a fuel source for the brain.Since we don’t know (at least our bodies don’t know) when we are going to be able to eat again, we have to have a mechanism that increases blood sugar to keep it above 70.
Glucagon is released from the Alpha cells in the pancreas. It is the hormone responsible for making new glucose (gluconeogenesis) in the liver and mobilizing fatty acids for energy utilization.
Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands which works to break down muscle and stimulate gluconeogenesis in the liver. Blood sugar dysregulation is a major contributor to adrenal fatigue and hypercortisolism.
Blood Sugar >10
This issue is also very important because, at levels above 100, glucose begins to be toxic. These elevated levels increase the formation of Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGE) which are very pro-inflammatory and are responsible for the multiple medical problems that patients with uncontrolled diabetes often end up getting.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for keeping blood sugar below 10. It protects us from the toxic effects of hyperglycemia.
There are 4 primary tissues that utilize and/or store most of the glucose we consume or create:
HOW IS DIABETES DIAGNOSED?
A blood test is taken from a vein and sent to a pathology lab. The tests done can include:
Regardless of the type of diabetes, Naturopathic & Nutritional Medicine treatment strategies aim to get a patient’s blood sugar levels back within a healthy range. For example, even though type 2 diabetes is caused by a number of factors, most of them are controllable, including diet, physical activity, stress, eating habits and behaviors, and obesity.
Nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins and hormonal imbalances can also contribute to insulin resistance, and require special training to evaluate.
A Naturopathic Doctor/Nutritional Medicine Doctor explores all of these factors to determine which ones should be prioritized and how they can be modified.
A visit with a Naturopathic Doctor to address diabetes will include a comprehensive intake and physical exam, along with review of health history, diet, and lifestyle factors. Any recent lab work will be reviewed, and new labs will be ordered if needed.
Generally, a Naturopathic treatment approach for diabetes includes a combination of:
The thing that is IMPERATIVE is to seek assistance in the management of Diabetes.
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