Complimentary and Alternative Therapies for Diabetes
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the
National Institutes of Health, defines complementary and alternative medicine
as a "group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and
products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional
medicine." Complementary medicine is used with conventional therapy,
whereas alternative medicine is used instead of conventional medicine.
Some people with diabetes use complementary or alternative therapies to
treat diabetes. Although some of these therapies may be effective, others can
be ineffective or even harmful. Patients who use complementary and alternative
medicine need to let their health care providers know what they are doing.
If you have diabetes, traveling for vacation or business requires extra planning. Changes in meal patterns, activity levels, and time zones can affect your blood sugar levels. That's why it's important to have some key reminders to make traveling with diabetes much easier.
Some complementary and alternative medicine therapies are discussed below.
For more information, talk with your health care provider.
Acupuncture is a procedure in which a practitioner inserts needles into
designated points on the skin. Some scientists believe that acupuncture
triggers the release of the body's natural painkillers. Acupuncture has been
shown to offer relief from chronic pain. Acupuncture is sometimes used by
people with neuropathy, the painful nerve damage of diabetes.
Biofeedback is a technique that helps a person become more aware of and
learn to deal with the body's response to pain. This alternative therapy
emphasizes relaxation and stress-reduction techniques. Guided imagery is
a relaxation technique that some professionals who use biofeedback do. With
guided imagery, a person thinks of peaceful mental images, such as ocean waves.
A person may also include the images of controlling or curing a chronic
disease, such as diabetes. People using this technique believe their condition
can be eased with these positive images.
The benefit of added chromium for diabetes has been studied and debated for
several years. Several studies report that chromium supplementation may improve
diabetes control. Chromium is needed to make glucose tolerance factor, which
helps insulin improve its action. Because of insufficient information on the
use of chromium to treat diabetes, no recommendations for supplementation yet
Several types of plants are referred to as ginseng but most studies of
ginseng and diabetes have used American ginseng. Those studies have shown some
glucose-lowering effects in fasting and post-prandial (after meal) blood
glucose levels as well as in A1C levels (average blood glucose levels over a
3-month period). However, larger and more long-term studies are needed before
general recommendations for use of ginseng can be made. Researchers also have
determined that the amount of glucose-lowering compound in ginseng plants
Although the relationship between magnesium and diabetes has been studied
for decades, it is not yet fully understood. Studies suggest that a deficiency
in magnesium may worsen blood glucose control in type 2 diabetes. Scientists
believe that a deficiency of magnesium interrupts insulin secretion in the
pancreas and increases insulin resistance in the body's tissues. Evidence
suggests that a deficiency of magnesium may contribute to certain diabetes
complications. A recent analysis showed that people with higher dietary intakes
of magnesium (through consumption of whole grains, nuts, and green leafy
vegetables) had a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.
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Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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