Diabetes & Hypoglycemia
Type II diabetes and hypoglycemia are caused by the body’s inability to properly regulate blood sugar levels.
Hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar) can develop into diabetes (or high blood sugar) as the pancreas becomes exhausted from repeated stress. The main cause of this process is a diet high in refined carbohydrates and fat and low in fiber such as we commonly see in the Western diet. Foods like white sugar, white flour, white rice, soda, breads, pasta, candy, and potatoes cause a spike in blood sugar when eaten, prompting the pancreas to release insulin to drive glucose into the cells. Blood sugar levels then drop and the body’s response is to release adrenaline to raise blood sugar levels once again. Eventually the body can become exhausted and the adrenal glands and/or the pancreas may not be able to function properly. If this happens, diabetes can be the result.
Signs that you may have hypoglycemia include headache, depression, anxiety, irritability, blurry vision, sweating, confusion, fatigue, crying, craving sweets, dizziness, and others. You will notice that many symptoms are associated with the brain; this is because glucose is the primary fuel for the brain.
Diabetes is the lack of or inability of the body to respond to insulin. Frequent urination, increased appetite and increased thirst are the first warning signs of diabetes. Complications of diabetes include high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, neuropathy, eye disease, kidney disease and foot ulcers. Usually type II diabetes develops later in life (age 40 or over) and is due to the body’s cell losing their sensitivity to insulin.
How Chinese medicine can help:
In Chinese medicine there are many different patterns that are associated with diabetes and hypoglycemia. They most commonly involve the spleen/pancreas, lung, kidney and heart systems. Patterns are often complicated by heat, yin deficiency or blood stasis. Acupuncture and herbs along with diet and exercise changes can help rebalance these systems reducing the symptoms and severity of blood sugar regulation problems. By improving your internal condition, the body will be better able to adapt to blood sugar changes and you will reduce the risk of complications due to these disease processes.
What you can do to improve your condition: