The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes. This figure is expected to double or triple by 2050, if trends continue. While this is certainly alarming, there is a customized diabetes treatment program available to help those already diagnosed, as well as for those who may be at risk.
Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is the leading cause of a stroke, blindness, amputations, heart failure and kidney failure. Sadly, it claims the life of one American every three minutes. For this reason, it is vital to take control of your health and discover a diabetes treatment program that can help you reduce symptoms… and perhaps save your life.
Understanding Blood Sugar Levels and the Different Types of Diabetes
Blood sugar, or blood glucose refers to sugar that the bloodstream carries to cells for energy. The measurement of blood sugar or blood glucose is the amount of sugar transported in the blood during one instant. Sugar in the blood is referred to as glucose. Glucose can only enter cells if insulin, a hormone – which is released by the pancreas, is in the bloodstream. Blood sugar levels change throughout the day. After we eat – levels rise and then usually are reduced after an hour. The lowest level is generally before the first meal of the day.
Blood Sugar Levels:
- A healthy person should have a fasting level below 99 mg/dL.
- According to the American Diabetes Association, the goal or target level for someone with diabetes (before eating) should be 70 – 130 mg/dL, and less than 180 mg/dL two hours after eating.
The Causes: There are various factors or causes that put people at risk for developing diabetes. These include:
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Poor Diet
- Pancreas Dysfunction
- Spinal Injury
- Spinal Subluxations (Misalignments)
- Damaged Nerves
- Weak Immune System
The Diagnosis: There are several tests to diagnose diabetes. These include the hemoglobin A1C (measures the average blood sugars over the last three months), fasting plasma glucose test (fast for up to eight hours and read levels) and an oral tolerance test.
In addition to evaluating blood sugar levels, certain symptoms may be experienced, such as an increase in appetite, thirst, urination and/or fatigue; as well as weight loss or sores that do not heal.
Once testing is complete, a diagnosis is made.
- Type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus): The pancreas produces little or no insulin. This type of diabetes requires insulin to control blood sugar levels.
- Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes): The pancreas initially produces insulin, but over time it does not respond and/or use it effectively and blood sugars rise. This is the most common type of diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes: According to recent reports (NIDDK), women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes (develops during pregnancy) have a 35 – 60% chance of developing type 2 diabetes within 20 years. Gestational diabetes affects about 6% of all pregnant women.
- Prediabetes: If blood sugar levels are higher than they should be, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes, you may have prediabetes. Prediabetes will increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The Treatment: It is important to speak to your healthcare provider when making any changes, continue with your medication and check your glucose levels.
At The AIMS Clinic, our comprehensive integration of chiropractic care, nutritional and dietary guidance, customized exercise program, podiatry and acupuncture treatments have helped those with diabetes. For some, medication is reduced or eliminated. Our treatment recommendations include:
- Chiropractic: Correcting subluxations help to promote a healthy spine and nervous system. This in turn allows the organs – including the pancreas, nervous system and immune system, to function on an optimal level.
- Physical Therapy: Exercise is an integral part of preventing or fighting diabetes. Together with our Physical Therapy Team, a customized program can be created to allow the body to maximize the intake of oxygen, eliminate toxins and produce lean muscle.
- Nutritional Counseling: There are so many questions and concerns those with diabetes have when trying to maintain a healthy eating program. Not only do you have to know what to eat, you have to know when to eat, in order to stabilize glucose levels. A diabetic diet – or as we prefer, a diabetic healthy eating program is based upon symptoms, activities and personal preferences. If you need guidance with selecting specific foods to help you reach a healthy weight – BMI of 25 or less, our Medical and Nutritional Teams can help. A healthy weight is vital to all types of diabetes, even if insulin is necessitated.
- Podiatry: Dr. King – a foot care specialist, is an integral part of the AIMS Healthcare Team, with proven success in amputation prevention. Regular foot screenings include:
- Foot or ankle swelling
- Pain in the legs
- Skin temperature elevation
- Changes in skin color
- Open sores that heal slowly
- Ingrown/fungal toenails
- Dry cracks in the skin around the heel
- Circulation problems
If wounds are present – which may have resulted from poorly fitting shoes, they may not be felt by the patient, due to a reduction in skin sensation. If a wound or ulcer is left untreated, it can become infected and serious consequences may result. Diabetes treatment and podiatry recommendations from Dr. King can help wounds heal and prevent them from returning. Recommendations include:
- Use a mild soap and lukewarm water to wash your feet. Dry carefully and completely – especially between the toes. A light dusting of powder to reduce moisture and/or cream may be suggested if skin is dry.
- Check your feet daily for any sores, cuts, discoloration or changes to your toenails.
- Footwear matters! Wear a thick, soft acrylic blend sock (without seams) along with properly fitting shoes. Feet should be measured by a professional when purchasing new shoes, because they change in size and shape. High heels, sandals and pointy shoes should be avoided.
- Do not go barefoot… anywhere.
- Toenails should be cut straight across and not rounded.
- Acupuncture: Research confirms that acupuncture treatments can help regulate pancreas function and insulin levels, along with weight loss, metabolism, nerve pain and stress.
Additional recommendations would be to eliminate smoking – if you smoke, and if you drink – try to drink in moderation. At The AIMS Clinic you will receive more than a diabetic diet! You will receive a Team of Experts to help you incorporate healthy eating concepts, exercise – most days, correct structural and muscular imbalances, reduce stress and stay motivated as you reach your goals. If you are seeking a foot care specialist, chiropractor, physical therapist, acupuncturist or nutritionist… find them all here at The AIMS Clinic.