Diabetes Mellitus, commonly referred to as Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases among world population. A 2017 study by CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) revealed that more than 30 million people had diabetes in 2015; this is 9.4% of total US population.
Moreover, roughly 84 million people are almost on the verge of becoming diabetic if they don’t take timely preventive measures.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by continuously increased blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) over a long period of time. It can be prevented and managed with adequate physical activities, diet control, medication, and other natural and Ayurvedic treatment for diabetes.
But the problem escalates when people are unaware that they have diabetes. In fact, 1 out of 4 Americans suffering from diabetes didn’t know they were affected!
Without treatment and prevention, diabetes can be a life-threatening condition as the affected people becoming drastically prone to vision loss, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, renal failure, and delayed healing of wounds which may lead to amputation of legs, feet, and toes.
Knowing how to control diabetes naturally at home is essential to living a healthy life. But the first step is to pay heed to its symptoms- frequent urination, increased thirst, increased hunger and weight loss.
Let’s understand what is diabetes, what are the symptoms of diabetes, how to control blood sugar naturally, what is the diet for diabetes patients and the Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes in the following sections:
What is Blood Sugar?
The cells present in our body need energy to function. This energy is present in the form of glucose units in our blood, in loose terms we call it blood sugar (while it should be called blood glucose).
[Note: Chemically, glucose is a type of sugar. So glucose is a sugar, but all sugars are not glucose.]
Importance of Blood Sugar and Role of Insulin in Our Body
Any food that we eat or drink is broken down into glucose by enzymes and chemicals present in the stomach. Glucose is then absorbed by the stomach and small intestine and released into our bloodstream. Hence, when we eat food, our blood sugar level increases.
This glucose containing blood is transported throughout our entire body with the help of our circulatory system, and it eventually reaches every cell of our body.
But body cells don’t know that glucose is available in the blood which they can take for energy. They need to be told this information. This is done by an important organ of our body called pancreas. The beta cells present in the pancreas are biological sensors that check blood sugar levels every few seconds. When they sense an increase in blood glucose levels, they release a critical hormone called insulin into the bloodstream.
Insulin is the one that communicates with every cell that glucose is available and cells should open their ‘gates’ to take it in. As cells take up glucose, blood sugar level goes down, which triggers beta cells in the pancreas to reduce insulin levels and hence the gates of cells close again.
Sometimes, we eat larger meals, which means that the glucose available is more than sufficient for our body. Insulin converts extra glucose into energy packets called glycogen and stores them into our liver and muscles. These can be readily converted into glucose and used up for energy at later stages.
What Is Diabetes Mellitus? Type-2 vs. Type-1 Diabetes.
In the previous section, we understood that pancreas secretes insulin to tell our body cells that glucose is present and ready to be absorbed.
What happens when insulin is secreted less than required or not at all? What if the insulin is secreted, but our cells have become resistant to insulin and can’t respond to it? Of course, cells can’t know that glucose is available even if it is in abundance. The result is consistently high blood sugar level (hyperglycemia) and low energy levels.
This condition is called Diabetes.
A great analogy for understanding the mechanism of Diabetes is explained in this video.
The former case in which enough insulin is not secreted is called Type-1 Diabetes. It is an auto-immune disease caused by genetic disorders and onsets at an early age.
The latter case, in which cells become insulin-resistant, is called Type-2 Diabetes. It is a lifestyle disorder and is caused by lack of physical activity and uncontrolled diet. More than 90% of all diabetes patients have type-2 diabetes. It is completely preventable by exercising and diet control, although genetics make some people more prone than others.
Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus
Hyperglycemia- Consistently high blood sugar levels
Weakness and lethargy
Unexplained rapid weight loss
Since cells are unaware of glucose in blood level, they can’t have the energy to work normally. This makes you feel tired and weak and will lead to drastic weight loss. Moreover, glucose is present in excess in our blood for long periods. This consistently high blood sugar level is called hyperglycemia. Our kidneys try to get rid of the excess sugar by passing it with urine. This leads to frequent urination and increased thirst.
How Is Diabetes Diagnosed? Who Should Take Diabetes Tests?
If your BMI is higher than 25, you should take timely diabetes tests regardless of your age. Factors that increase the risk of diabetes are hypertension, higher or lower cholesterol levels, and passive lifestyle. If you any of the above or have a diabetic blood relative, you are more prone towards getting affected and should get tested frequently.
Age is also a factor; people with age greater than 45 get tested every three years.
Following are the usual tests used for detecting high blood sugar levels that are often a precursor to diabetes:
Diagnostic Tests for Diabetes
A1C or Glycated Hemoglobin Test
It is a blood test that reveals your average blood sugar level for the past 2-3 months. A1C test doesn’t require any fasting and indicates the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin.
More hemoglobin with sugar attached means that blood sugar level is on the higher side. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates that you have diabetes. An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes. Below 5.7 is considered normal.
Random Blood Sugar Test
Blood sugar level varies throughout the day and depends on when was your last meal. As the name suggests, in this test a sample of your blood is taken at any random time. If your random blood glucose level is higher than 200 mg/dL irrespective of the time of your last food intake, you might have diabetes.
Fasting blood sugar test
Instead of any random time, in this test, your blood sample is taken in the morning after 8-12 hours of overnight fasting. In unaffected people, blood sugar levels increase after food intake but go down after glucose is absorbed by cells for generating energy.
But in diabetics, glucose levels continue to stay higher even a long time after meals. So if your sugar levels are high after fasting on two separate occasions, you have diabetes.
How to Find If You Have Diabetes?
People suffering from Diabetes often miss on the symptoms becuase they start considering it as part of routine. But timely diagnosis is critical for keeping diabetes under check.
Watch this video to learn how to detect whether you are having diabetic symptoms:
How Dangerous Is Diabetes? Complications of Diabetes
Diabetes is a gateway to many fatal diseases and results in 1.5-5 million deaths every year since 2012. [Source: Wikipedia]
There is no cure for diabetes as of today. It can only be prevented, managed and controlled. Untreated diabetes affects several vital organs, especially those with small capillary vessels like heart, kidney, eyes, and nerves.
The major consequences of poorly managed diabetes are:
Cardiovascular diseases like coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis (narrowing of arteries), high blood pressure, and heart attack.
Neuropathy (nerve damage) in various parts of the body, especially legs. This leads to numbness and insensitivity in limbs, poor digestion, nausea and erectile dysfunction in men.
Kidney damage and failure. It is the leading cause of death of diabetes patients.
Eye damage ranging from cataract and glaucoma to complete vision loss.
Nerve damage in feet may lead to amputation of toes, feet or the leg itself. Diabetics can’t feel pain or sensation in small cuts and bruises to the feet, hence their wounds don’t heal.
Risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases too.
What Are The Causes of Diabetes?
Diabetes Type-2 is caused when the cells of our body become insulin resistant, while in type-1, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas (beta cells) are destroyed, leading to no insulin.
Type-1 can’t be prevented since it’s an autoimmune disease, but type-2 is a lifestyle disease and can be prevented. The major causes and risk factors of type-2 diabetes are as follows:
Obesity: People with higher BMI are at the highest risk of becoming diabetic.
Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity is also a major risk factor for diabetes.
Family History: If any blood relative has diabetes, your chances are high too.
Ethnicity: People belonging to some races are more prone to diabetes than others, for example, African Americans, Hispanics, and Indians.
Age: The risk of diabetes type-2 increases with age, though, more and more children are starting to develop diabetic conditions.
Tobacco Use: People who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day almost double the risk of diabetes.
How To Control Diabetes Naturally At Home
Preventing and managing diabetes is a difficult job. You must make conscious lifestyle changes to control blood sugar naturally.
Here are the natural remedies for diabetes that will help you in effective diabetes treatment at home.
#1 Maintain a Healthy Weight
Keeping your weight under check is the most critical step you should take to control diabetes naturally. This can be achieved with physical activities and diet control.
#2 Adopt an Active Lifestyle
Increase your physical activity and include exercise in your daily routine. Even simple hacks like taking stairs instead of elevator or lift can work wonders to curb diabetes. Cardio exercises like running, walking, swimming and weight training are also helpful.
#3 Yoga Exercises For Diabetes Prevention and Control
Besides the usual physical activities, yoga exercises can be extremely beneficial in reducing or preventing diabetes. The following yoga poses are particularly great for reducing the risk of diabetes:
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Twist Pose)
#4 Quit Smoking and Consumption of Tobacco in Other Forms
Smoking almost doubles the risk of diabetes. Moreover, diabetics and pre-diabetics should avoid smoking at all costs because it escalates the risk of complications like high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and stroke.
#5 Follow Diet for Diabetes Patients
Consume a healthy diet that includes more leafy vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Fish, chia seeds, turmeric, and cinnamon are particularly beneficial for controlling diabetes.
#6 Foods To Avoid In High Blood Pressure
Avoid food with trans-fats and high-sugar. Closely monitor calories of your food and keep carbohydrates on the lower side. Keep processed food and junk food as far from your reach as possible!
#7 Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Having a drink or two occasionally may even be good for your health. But binge drinking and chronic alcoholism significantly increase the risk of complications in diabetes. So it is advisable to keep alcohol in moderation.
#8 Take Regular Medicine For Diabetes
If you are already suffering from diabetes or hyperglycemia, you must take a doctor’s consultation and take the prescribed medicines regularly. Alternative medicines, especially Ayurvedic can be highly effective in control and prevention of diabetes too.
#9 Regularly Monitor Your Blood Sugar
Despite all measures, blood sugar levels can escalate or reduce erratically. In order to be able to take timely action, make sure that you are monitoring your blood sugar levels on a frequent basis.
Best Ayurvedic Medicine for Diabetes Management
Ayurveda can effectively help you in controlling diabetes. Besides the preventive measures like diet control and physical activities, take Ilogen Excel Tablets. It is a highly effective and popular Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes.
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Diabetes is one of the fastest growing lifestyle conditions and affects millions of people worldwide. If not prevented or managed properly, it can lead to complications like heart diseases, vision loss, foot amputation, kidney failure which can be fatal too.
It is high time that we take diabetes seriously and take preventive measures by learning how to control diabetes naturally at home.