Diabetes 101

November is American Diabetes Month so it seemed appropriate to do a segment on diabetes. I will be discussing common signs/symptoms, questions to ask your doctor, and some natural treatment options that are available to you. First things first, when should you seek medical attention or get further testing to determine if you have diabetes? Some common signs and symptoms that are seen early in the course of the disease include…

  • Increased urination, especially at night
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurred vision

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consult with your doctor to see if you are at risk for type II diabetes. Some tests that might be ordered include, a fasting plasma glucose level, hemoglobin A1C, or a 2 hour plasma glucose level which is done during an oral glucose tolerance test. A diagnosis of diabetes will be made is your fasting glucose level is greater than/equal to 126 on 2 seperate occasions, hemoglobin A1C is greater than/equal to 6.5, or the oral glucose tolerance test is greater than/equal to 200.

 

If you already have diabetes or do receive a diagnosis of diabetes after the previous testing has been done, there are plenty of natural treatment options to help keep it under control.

 

DIET:

Diet is one of the most important factors in controlling diabetes. You can start be eating foods that have a low glycemic index or load.  Click here for a list of foods with their respective glycemic index and load values. You should also eat several small meals a day and include protein

with every meal as it slows the digestion of your food and prevents spikes in blood glucose. Some good protein sources include lean meats, nuts, eggs, and nut butters. Cinnamon has blood sugar lowering abilities as it increases the sensitivity of insulin. Try to include a teaspoon of cinnamon in your diet every day. You will be doing something beneficial for your health and besides that, it tastes delicious! It is also always important to include plenty of fruits and vegetables of a variety of colors as they provide many nutrients that are necessary for maintaining health.

 

 

EXERCISE:

Exercise is another important factor in avoiding some of the complications that are associated with diabetes and help in keeping it under control. You should aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week. This can include walks, swimming, or using the equipment at the gym to increase your heart rate.

 

SUPPLEMENTATION:

  1. Chromium: 200-600mcg daily depending on your glucose levels
  2. Vanadium: 50mg daily
  3. Biotin: 4-8mg daily
  4. Magnesium: 500mg daily, can increase to bowel tolerance
  5. Gymnema: 200mg twice daily

 

As always it is important to consult with your physician before beginning any treatments, and depending on the severity of your diabetes pharmaceutical intervention may be required until you can get the blood glucose levels under control. At which point you can discuss trying some diet and lifestyle changes and consider weaning off the medication if you are successful in making the necessary changes.

 

*All views expressed on this blog are my own and should not replace the advice of your doctor.