Does Clinical Nutrition Treat Diabetes Effectively?
Patrick K. Kimuyu
Treatment of diabetes has become relatively efficient with the emergence of nutritional remedies. In the old days, people who suffered from diabetes died, owing to the adverse consequences of the disease conditions because there was no reliable treatment. Thereafter, insulin therapy was initiated and this seemed to alleviate diabetic conditions. Today, there are quite a number of approaches that help to treat diabetes, and one of the most principal approaches is clinical nutrition, in which, diabetic patients are put on a prescribed dietary regime and herbs to regulate blood sugar. Diabetes, which is characterized by polydipsia, polyuria and polyphagia conditions, is posing threat to mankind, although their severity depends on whether one is suffering from Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Currently, about 6.3% of the U.S population is suffering from diabetes. Globally, it is estimated that 171 million people suffer from the disease (CDC, 2003). As a result, the WHO has turned to nutritional remedies to increase treatment efficacy and reduce cost. To this effect, the question is ‘Does Clinical Nutrition Treat Diabetes Effectively?’ This essay gives an overview on diabetes then focus on alternative therapies, and the role of medicine to support this kind of treatment.
In the recent period, there has been a rise in the number of patients who suffer from chronic disease. As a result of that, the WHO has recorded 21,000 medical herbs that have an effective role in the treatment of diseases. One of those is diabetes which is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.A, and the number of diabetes patients has increased dramatically especially in developing countries which account for 48 percent (WHO, 2012). As a result, scientists have digressed deeply into research to identify nutritional remedies for diabetes. Most of these researches are tested on animals, whereas the result was mostly positive. It seems clear that diabetes has a detrimental impact on health status and the money which is spent on conventional medicine is wasted.
According to Kids’ Health Organization the term diabetes can be defined as a disease, which affects the blood when the body cannot make use of glucose as a result of an imbalance in the secretion of the insulin hormone (Kids Health Organization, 2012). For this definition to be complete, it is necessary to specify that diabetes does not include hypoglycaemia which is low sugar in the blood. This is a significant distinction because this paper will focus on the method of treating this disease before the patient is affected by having another disease such as cardiovascular disease . On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined it as shortcomings in the work of the pancreas, which leads to late complications in large blood vessels and the principal organs such as heart, brain, nervous system, kidneys and eyes (WHO, 2012).
Diabetes is divided into two types (Type 1diabetes or Insulin Depended Diabetes Mellitus and Type 2 diabetes or Non-Insulin Depended Diabetes Mellitus). Both types affect the body as a result of the lower level of insulin in the blood. However, there are some differences between them. For example, Type 1 patients exhibit low weight and tire more easily than those with Type 2 diabetes. In addition, Type 2 diabetes occurs among adults while Type 1 diabetes affects children. The main symptoms of diabetes are feeling thirsty, frequent urination, weight loss and fatigue because cells can not have enough glucose which is oxidixed to generate ATP energy required by skeletal muscles. All the above factors reduce physical activity of diabetic patients; thus they cannot perform heavy tasks (Allman, 2008).
Diabetes is a hereditary disease that threatens people of all ages; from a foetus in the womb to people of old age. Both types can be genetic, although research show there are some lifestyle causes. There are other factors such as obesity, which serves as the principal predisposing factor related to diabetes onset (NDIC, 2011).
Using medicine for a long time may have a detrimental impact for the body in the future. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal (2012) there is a significant relationship between the use of diabetes medication and certain types of cancer. So, that means diabetic patients are more likely to have cancer than patients suffering from other diseases rather than diabetes (Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2012). This is especially the case with bladder cancer. As a result of that scientists suggest the use of herbal medicine, instead of chemical medicines, which has an active role in treating diabetes. Furthermore, scientists have found that some Indian herbs, such as Salacia oblonga influence the intestinal enzymes that convert carbohydrates into unilateral sugar (glucose) (Science Daily, 2005). Salacia oblonga works by slowing down the speed of analysis and absorption of the glucose to keep it in the body for a longer period of time. Research shows that patients who used these herbs recorded blood sugar reduction. In addition, it was found that their insulin remained at normal levels. It is extremely important to know that this kind of treatment is useful for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Thus, Type 2 diabetes patients may prefer herbal remedies which are natural and do not harm the body by causing other disease conditions.
Providing medical services to the community costs too much money, whereas some diseases are treated by taking medicine for long term. This is a problem which may face people who have chronic diseases such as diabetes in that, they cannot afford their medicine. As Defrozen (1999) pointed out that foods and drinks which had herbal ingredients reduced the amount of sugar in the blood (Defrozen, 1999). Many foodstuffs today, such as bread, raise their nutritional value by adding more ingredients such as barley, garlic and mustard seeds. The Agricultural Research Unit in Maryland found that taking cinnamon with honey before sleeping helped to regulate blood sugar. ¼ to ½ teaspoonfuls of cinnamon provides the pancreas with what it needs to create insulin, such as vitamin C, and so because of that, many doctors advise their patients to add cinnamon in to their food (Weiss, 2003). Herbs are widely available and often do not need chemical formulations, and cost less money than medicine. In 2007 the cost of treating diabetes in the USA was 174 billion dollars. Using herbs is an easier and cheaper way of treating diabetes than medicine as patients can put herbs in their meals as a flavour, and it works effectively, not just for diabetes, but also for digestive disorders and skin problems as they contain vitamins and fibre.