Diabetes is a disease caused by increased blood glucose levels. The body’s main energy source is glucose that derives from consumed sugar/carbohydrate in the diet. The glucose then stimulates the production of insulin by the pancreas.
Insulin is a hormone that attaches the glucose molecule and brings it to the cells. If there is too much glucose in blood due to a diet high in sugar and/or pancreas is producing little or no insulin, then this causes hyperglycemia and can cause serious issues.
Sugar consumption over last two century USA & UK:
Since 1980, the number of people suffering from diabetes has increased by 4 times (Who, 24.08.20) 1*. This increase is directly connected to reduction in good fats, considered unhealthy in the 70s and an increase of sugar consumption. Read more about sugar consumption here.
What are the types of Diabetes Mellitus?
There are three types of diabetes. Each one is directly linked to your body’s insulin levels.
Type 1 – Autoimmune
Type one diabetes is when your body is incapable of producing enough insulin. It is a long term condition and it happens when the immune cells attack the pancreas, the gland that produces and secretes insulin.
Type 1 diabetes affects approximately 8% of all people diagnosed with DM in the UK* (Diabetes Web 2*), this type of disease especially starts during early childhood, but can start at any age 3* (H.Courteney).
Patients with this type of diabetes must take insulin daily to survive. There is no cure yet, but some studies show that a Holistic Intervention with a Functional Medicine Approach is very prominent in slowing down the progression.
Type 2 – High Blood Sugar
This is the most common type of diabetes. It manifests with high blood sugar circulation this could happen when:
- Insulin is produced but the cells are not receptive to it as they should.
- Not enough insulin is produced.
This can be caused by many factors but primarily the two main triggers are unbalanced diet and lack of exercise. 4*
This type of diabetes is easily reversible at any age, I have had great results with my clients, see the feedback here:
Gestational diabetes – Pregnancy
This type occurs only in pregnant women, because the body is unable to produce the extra insulin needed during pregnancy and can be also linked to hormonal changes and/or genetics.
Luckily, gestational diabetes goes away after childbirth. However, it increases the risk of developing type 2 DM at a later stage are high. 5*
Signs and symptoms of DM
High Blood sugar can cause little or even none symptoms for years even decades, but with time the below symptoms may manifest.
- blurry vision
- chronic fatigue
- frequent thirstiness
- slow healing of wounds
- frequent candida or UTI
- loss of muscle bulk and weight
- peeing more frequently, particularly during the night
Health problems associated with diabetes:
Diabetes mellitus is the root cause of many diseases and disorders. Over time, you may develop various pathologies due to high glucose levels. Some of the problems experienced by people with diabetes are:
- Kidney failure
- Limb amputation
- Stroke and heart disease
- Neuropathy (numbness or tingling in the extremities caused by damaged nerves)
Diabetes is one of the main causes of blindness which occurs because of damage to the retina’s small blood vessels.
Diagnosis of DM
The earliest known symptoms can be traced back to 1552 BC by an Egyptian physician named Hesy-Ra. He documented that DM caused frequent urination and emaciation in patients. During this time, ancient healers also noticed that the urine of patients attracted ants.
Many centuries later, the urine of suspected patients was tasted as a way of diagnosing DM. If their urine had a sweet taste, then it meant that they had DM. In 1675, the Greek word “mellitus” meaning honey was added to “diabetes” which means ‘passing through’.
Nowadays the most common way of diagnosing diabetes is through two blood tests that can be done at your GP, check my article on which blood tests can be requested at the GP or done privately. The two blood tests are fasting blood sugar level and HbA1C.
Another test that would be good to do at the same time is lipid profile. Lipids and sugars are very connected. To find out more about tests check out my TEST page, I especially recommend performing the Advanced Blood Biochemistry test that provides an even more comprehensive picture.
What can be done to prevent, reverse or slow down the progression of DM?
Firstly one should look into their diet, by balancing out food consumption quantity, quality and type of food we address the problem from the root.
Exercise is the second step, regular physical exercise will help to maintain healthy blood sugar level.
Other forms of intervention are:
If you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes it is better to work with a qualified nutritionist like myself, especially if you have an ongoing health condition or you experience any symptoms.
Self supplementation can be harmful and ineffective, but there are two supplements that can be safely taken and are essential with blood sugar imbalance.
Magnesium – not all magnesium are the same, the most efficient one is found in pico ionic form, read more about Remag Magnesium here.
Chromium – 200mg of chromium can help control and prevent late onset of diabetes. You can use my 10% discount on Natural Dispensary website, after registration and before checking out use the COUPON CODE: NDK10 click here to be redirected to the website.
NOTE: the discount code NDK10 is valid for all items on their website.
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Article written by Nadiya Kondratyeva Nutritional Therapist and Functional Medicine Practitioner Tunbridge Wells.