Diabetes- can you reverse the malady-Is there a natural therapy?

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

Let’s discuss about diabetes briefly before we find the answer to the claim by some authorities that there is a cure for diabetes.
Let’s keep our discussion to type 2 diabetes only, meaning the type of diabetes healthy people get during adulthood, after the age of 40, for some unknown and known reasons.

The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. The global prevalence of diabetes* among adults over 18 years of age has risen from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014. Diabetes prevalence has been rising more rapidly in middle- and low-income countries.

ChinaIndia and the United States top the list for the most cases of diabetes per country; around 24.4 million Americans had the disease in 2013. But islands in the Pacific have the most alarming rates of prevalence, or the number of cases compared to the country's population overall.

Sri Lanka too is seeing an increase in the cases of diabetes. According to recent statistics by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the prevalence of diabetes among adults in Sri Lanka is 8.5%. At present, one in 12 adults in the country suffers from diabetes, which totals to 1.16 million.

What happens to the carbs like rice, bread, sodas and fruit drinks, you consume daily in your body?
Your body breaks down carbs and starches you eat into sugar called glucose in your gut, used for quick energy. Insulin, which is made by your pancreas, helps keep the right amount of glucose in your blood stream.

If you do not have enough insulin manufactured in the pancreas, your blood sugar level will rise.
Blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/dL after not eating (fasting) for at least 8 hours. And is less than 140 mg/dL 2 hours after eating. During the day, levels tend to be at their lowest just before meals. For most people without diabetes, blood sugar levels before meals hover around 70 to 80 mg/dL.

A fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) is normal. A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) is considered prediabetes. If it's 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher on two separate tests, you have diabetes.
Insulin which controls the blood sugar level is manufactured in the beta cells in the pancreas.

With dysfunction of the beta cells due to known and unknown factors, less insulin will be secreted, and the sugar level will remain high in your blood.

Normal function of insulin is to courier the blood glucose to various tissues, cells, including the liver for storage and use for energy. In certain situations, if you eat too much of carbs, and drinks with added sugars you may stress the beta cells and cause insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance
In insulin resistance your beta cells manufacture more insulin to control your blood sugar. This is a very stressful situation for the beta cells. The resistance increases with age and how can your reduce the resistance to insulin.

Normally, your doctor will increase your insulin injections to lower the blood glucose level with insulin resistance. This situation is like giving more alcohol to an alcoholic to cure the disease.
The solution is to take measures to reduce insulin resistance, and not increase your medication.
The measures that are available to reduce insulin resistance are:
Exercise daily to burn more blood glucose.
Consume low GI foods, like unprocessed carbs, vegetables, nuts, lentils.
Limit your alcohol consumption.
Take measures to reduce weight, if you are overweight.

Such measures will reduce insulin resistance, and your doctor will get the opportunity to reduce your dose of insulin, rather than increasing.

Unchecked high blood sugar can cause health problems like heart disease, nerve and kidney damage, and eye conditions. Alcohol stops your liver from making glucose. Women with diabetes should have no more than one drink a day and men should have no more than two. Don’t drink on an empty stomach or when your blood sugar is already low. Check your blood sugar before, during, and for the next 24 hours after drinking.

Can you cure diabetes?
The answer is with change of lifestyle, and medication, reducing risk factors, weight loss, including stress you could achieve normal blood sugar levels, but permanent reversing is not a possibility.

During the prediabetic phase, you could reverse diabetes by strict dietetic control and daily exercise. Again, reversing the malady is not curing.

Type 2 diabetes is an ongoing disease.  Even if you're in remission, which means you aren't taking medication and your blood sugar levels stay in a healthy range, there's always a chance that symptoms will return. 

So how can you reverse diabetes? The key seems to be weight loss. Not only can shedding pounds help you manage your diabetes, sometimes losing enough weight could help you live diabetes-free -- especially if you've only had the disease for a few years and haven't needed insulin.

With all the research on diabetes and advances in diabetes treatments, it's tempting to think someone has surely found a diabetes cure by now. But the reality is that there is no cure for diabetes -- neither type 1 diabetes nor type 2 diabetes. (Although lifestyle changes can achieve remission in type 2 diabetes in some cases.)

Is there a natural therapy that can cure diabetes?
No.

Natural therapies such as deep abdominal breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and biofeedback can help relieve stress. And emotional stress affects your blood sugar levels. So, learning to relax is important in managing your diabetes.

Supplements don't cure diabetes, either.
Some natural supplements may interact dangerously with your diabetes medication. Others have been shown to help improve your diabetes, but always check with your doctor before taking any supplement.

Be sceptical about claims of a diabetes cure. A genuine cure will have been tested repeatedly in clinical trials with clear success.
When the beta cells start deteriorating in its function, you cannot rejuvenate and revert to normal function.

Hope this video gave you good advice on the subject.

Click here to view the video on YouTube

Dr Gunatillake-Health editor is a member of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. Member of the Australian Association of Cosmetic Surgery. Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (UK), Corresponding Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, Member of the International Societies of Cosmetic surgery, Fellow of the International College of Surgery (US), Australian diplomat for the International Society of Plastic, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery, Board member of the International Society of Aesthetic Surgery, Member of the American Academy of Aesthetic & restorative Surgery, Life Member of the College of Surgeons, Sri Lanka, Batchelor of Medicine & Surgery (Cey): Government scholar to UK for further studies.

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