Diabetes mellitus, usually referred to simply as “diabetes” is well-managed using naturopathic medicine.
The term “diabetes mellitus” refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body processes dietary sugar (glucose), and ultimately where your blood sugar levels are elevated. Chronic forms of diabetes include type-1 diabetes, in which your body produces little or no insulin (the hormone your body uses to move sugar from your blood into your cells for use) and type-2 diabetes in which your cells become resistant to the action of insulin.
Potentially reversible forms of diabetes include pre-diabetes (which can progress to type-2 diabetes), in which your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes, and gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy.
Left untreated, diabetes can result in many serious complications including heart attacks and strokes, nerve damage (leading to numbness and pain in, and even amputation of limbs; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; constipation; erectile dysfunction), kidney damage, blindness and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Seek professional healthcare if you experience any possible symptoms of diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Possible symptoms of diabetes include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Frequent infections
- Blurred vision
- Slow healing of cuts and sores
Treatment of Diabetes at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goals of diabetes treatment are, in the event of pre-diabetes to prevent development of type-2 diabetes, and in the cases of diabetes, to reduce symptoms and amounts of medication required, and prevent or manage complications and associated conditions (e.g., high blood pressure).
Conventional treatment for diabetes may include a variety of medications, including insulin and metformin (Glucophage®). These treatments may have short- or long-term side effects.
For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your pre-diabetes or diabetes symptoms.
Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:
- Identifying specific treatment goals
- Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
- Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
- Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating diabetes may be to:
- Identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., poor diet, weight management, sedentary lifestyle, stress) or general health (e.g., polycystic ovary syndrome) that may be contributing to development of diabetes
- Increase sensitivity of cells to insulin using botanical (herbal) medicines or exercise prescription
- Prevent potential complications of diabetes (e.g., osteoporosis, heart disease) using botanical (herbal) medicines, nutritional supplements and a lifestyle medicine program
Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:
- Nutritional counseling
- Nutritional supplements
- Metabolic detoxification protocols
- Botanical (herbal) medicines
- Bowen Therapy
- Exercise prescription
- Relaxation (meditation) training
- Lifestyle medicine and counseling
- Registered massage therapy
To learn more about our approach to managing diabetes mellitus, please visit our page on Medical Weight Loss and FirstLine® Therapy.
Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
Diabetes [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2009 Feb 18]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes/DS01121.