Diabetes Type 2 care has become more and more of a health concern globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2011, approximately 364 million people around the world suffer from diabetes Type 2. In 2004, 3.4 million people died directly from the causes of high blood glucose.
Why use Chinese medicine therapy (Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese nutritional consulting) for Diabetes Type 2 support?
Acupuncture alone can influence different hormonal activity associated with Diabetes Type 2.
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 (formerly noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, NIDDM, or adult-onset Diabetes) is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. This is because the body either stops producing or doesn’t produce enough insulin (a hormone that helps your body to use glucose in order to enter into cells). The amount of glucose/blood sugar then rises to unhealthy levels. If left untreated, Diabetes Type 2 can cause many health complications ranging from kidney failure, heart disease, obesity, neuropathy, blindness and even possible limb amputation. Heart disease is the leading cause of Diabetes Type 2 related deaths with death rates being about 2-4 times as high as that of adults without diabetes.
Chinese Medicine has long been used in relieving the symptoms associated with and in conjunction with the Western allopathic treatment of Diabetes Type 2. Although there are currently a number of effective Western medications available for treatment, many drugs have severe side effects such as weight gain, bone loss, and possible risk of cardiovascular complications. Furthermore, treatment is very costly as well since Diabetes Type 2 is considered a chronic disease, long-term medications are necessary to manage care.
Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can help address Diabetic neuropathy by directing blood to flow into the extremities and peripheral tissues with the goal of regenerating nervous tissue formation and conductivity. Chinese herbal therapy can also target digestive health, as well as liver and kidney abilities to filter and manage the excess glucose build up in the bodies’ tissues.
According to the Journal of Evidence based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, herbal medications treating diabetes can target multiple mechanisms including enhancement of insulin sensitivity, stimulation of insulin secretion, or reduction of carbohydrate absorption. Unlike Western medicine, which usually contains a single active ingredient aiming for a specific mechanism, herbal prescriptions may contain various active ingredients targeting multiple mechanisms. Herbal medicine is based on the holistic theory which puts an emphasis on the integrated organ functioning. Western drugs are typically more potent than herbal medicine in lowering blood glucose levels. However, herbal supplements have shown to be able to treat diabetic complications. Thus, Chinese herbal medicine can also be used as supplementation or in combination with the Western medicine to improve better therapeutic outcomes.
Sources and References:
Wang, Zhijun, Wang, Jeffery and Chan, Patrick. “Treating Type II Diabetes Mellitus with Traditional Chinese and Indian Medicinal Herbs,” Journal of Evidence Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine 2013; 2013: 343594. May 2013. Web 27 December 2013.
National Institute of Health further reading and resources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=acupuncture+and+diabetes+type+2