The term diabetes refers to the disease caused by high amounts of sugar in the blood. There are three types of diabetes:
- Type I
- Type II
As well as a condition called pre-diabetes.
Type I Diabetes- occurs in patients whose pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows blood cells to use glucose for energy. Patients with Type I Diabetes cannot make insulin on their own and must rely on insulin injections to stay alive.
Type I Diabetes generally occurs in children and young adulthood but can happen at any age.
Type II Diabetes- is the most common form of diabetes and occurs in patients whose bodies may produce insulin, but they are resistant to the insulin their bodies create.
Type II Diabetes can happen at any age and can be related to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
Gestational Diabetes- occurs in pregnant women. Though gestational diabetes likely ends after delivery, women who develop it tend to be at higher risk for Type II Diabetes later on.
Pre-diabetes- occurs in patients who consistently have high blood sugar but not high enough to be considered Type II Diabetes. This pre-condition can be improved through diet and exercise.
Diabetes itself is a disease that requires diligence and attention, and it can lead to a host of medical issues that in and of themselves can create havoc. Diabetes can often lead to:
- Heart Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Dental Disease
- Eye Problems
- Nerve Damage
A Whole-Body Approach to Diabetes Makes an Important Impact
Treating diabetes and other chronic disease is more comfortable when the whole body is considered. Using a holistic and integrative medicine model may reduce the intensity and chronicity of the disease.
Your physician plays a large role in how your diabetes is managed, no matter what type you experience. Integrative medicine goes beyond the medical model for your care; it includes your overall health, including your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Integrative medicine takes an in-depth look at your lifestyle and assesses all the evidence to make healthy changes that promote wellness. Developing a therapeutic relationship with your medical provider goes a long way towards your education about diabetes and the best course of action to take for your unique needs.
Diabetes Affects your Physical Health
First and foremost, diabetes affects your health. It is a medical condition that is potentially life-threatening. Left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to death. Above, we listed the additional trauma diabetes can place on your body. From heart attacks to loss of vision, the possibilities for injury or permanent disability are many. That means taking care of your physical health is of utmost importance to you and your treating physician.
Depending on the type of diagnosis you have, it will be essential to have short and long-term plans in place to ensure continuity of care as well as consistently monitoring and keeping up on new and upcoming treatments from which you may benefit. Your integrative medicine provider is at the forefront of making sure you are aware of the treatments available.
Diabetes Affects your Mental Health
Living with diabetes is a challenge. Though it is possible to manage the health issues that come with a diagnosis of diabetes, it still takes an emotional toll on you and your loved ones. Your entire family, as well as your treating physician, are part of the team helping you navigate your unique needs and helping create your integrative medical care plan.
Patients living with chronic illnesses like Type I Diabetes often suffer from intermittent anxiety and depression. This is normal, and your physician can help you by providing support and referrals to additional providers when necessary.
Diabetes Affects your Lifestyle
Diabetes can make a significant impact on your lifestyle. Consistent monitoring of your blood and taking insulin is a vital aspect of managing diabetes. This can disrupt your life from time to time. Families supporting children and young adults with a diabetes diagnosis may have a lot to learn to support and meet the needs of their loved ones.
Making the adaptations to your lifestyle may be rocky at points along the way. Your treating physician can help offset some of the learning curves by providing valuable information, making appropriate referrals, and sharing tips and tricks that can help.
Integrative Medicine Includes More Than Western Medicine Practices
Western medicine is defined as treating the symptoms of an illness or injury with medication, radiation, or surgery. While these are excellent ways to manage a patient’s health, there are additional ways equally beneficial. Integrative medicine includes practices from other regions of the world and incorporates how the body systems interact. A patient receiving integrative treatment for diabetes would likely be encouraged to consider a wide variety of treatment options, including:
- Changes in diet
- Changes in exercise
- Herbal remedies
These are but a few of the options that may be appropriate for a patient’s well-being. Your treating physician will work with you to decide which treatments are best for your needs.
Diabetes may feel like an overwhelming diagnosis. We are here to help. Our integrative medicine approach to diabetes management considers our patients as a whole. We consider the mind-body connection to be vital in making treatment plans that impact our patients.
If you or someone you love has been given a diagnosis of diabetes, connect with our office for a free consultation with Dr. Jen to explore your symptoms and see what you need to keep your health optimal and your life in balance.