Approximately 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population, have diabetes, and another 84.1 million people have prediabetes, which if not treated can lead to Type 2 diabetes within five years. Conventional treatment for the disease often involves medication and monitoring, but Functional Medicine provides an effective alternative to pharmaceutical treatments and all of their side effects.
Read on to learn how the team at Family Acupuncture and Wellness can help you reverse diabetes and prediabetes.
Root cause of diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that can be managed, but not reversed, with functional medicine approaches. Type 2 diabetes is different, however. It usually develops with time. The older you are, the greater your chance of developing it.
Researchers haven’t found a singular cause for Type 2 diabetes. Sugar isn’t solely responsible, but consuming large amounts of sugar can lead to inflammation and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when our cells are no longer able to efficiently transport sugar from our blood into our cells where it can be burned for fuel. Obesity is very often caused by insulin resistance as well, so it very often goes hand in hand with diabetes. If you’re sedentary, your risk of developing prediabetes or full-blown Type 2 diabetes also increases.
The functional medicine approach looks for the root cause of your disease, rather than simply treating the symptoms. To do this we utilize a whole suite of lab tests that are focused on identifying the underlying factors that are driving the insulin resistance which is at the root of your diabetes. The tests looks at your inflammation, vitamin deficiencies, sex hormones, stress hormones, thyroid hormones, gastrointestinal health, and liver health. Any and all of these can dramatically affect insulin resistance and diabetes progression.
Functional treatment plan
Once we identify the factors that are driving diabetes and prediabetes, Functional treatment involves creating a plan to address all of these factors.
Studies show that changes in your diet can lead to improvement in diabetes symptoms in 1-8 weeks. Emphasize foods that don’t spike your blood sugar, such as high-fiber, plant-based foods, proteins, nuts and other healthy fats. Avoid refined grains, fried foods, and sugary sweets. These foods raise blood sugar and can radically increase your level of inflammation, both of which can increase insulin resistance.
You also likely benefit from an exercise plan which has been customized to meet their specific health situation. Exercise can help make our insulin receptors more sensitive, which makes us able to process carbohydrates in the diet much more efficiently.
Family Acupuncture and Wellness may also recommend supplements, such as fish oil to reduce inflammation, to support a functional reversal of diabetes. We generally like to make our supplement recommendations based on a patient’s lab work.
Stress reduction is important in minimizing the symptoms of diabetes as well. Make habits out of deep breathing, meditation, and yoga to ease your anxiety.
Why functional approaches work
Diabetes results when your body can’t process insulin properly. Diet, lack of exercise, stress, and toxins increase your levels of insulin resistance. Functional medicine seeks to address these diabetes aggravators, so your body is better able to process insulin and use it better.
With a functional plan, you actually address some of the potential causes of the disease. Instead of treating symptoms while continuing to feed insulin dysfunction, you revise the habits that cause the dysfunction in the first place.
If you’re diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, you have options for treatment that don’t involve medications and insulin pumps. Commit to a healthier lifestyle, a revised diet, and more exercise with support from the team at Family Acupuncture and Wellness.