This month I will be posting daily about the autoimmune disorder diabetes. With any autoimmune disorder the body and some processes are not functioning as they should. Often times cells within the body turn against healthy cells causing depletion and disruption. The internal cell wisdom shifts and it doesn’t perform properly. There are many autoimmune disorders such as: psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, grave’s, hashimoto’s, arthritis, scleroderma, sjögen’s and several more. Autoimmune disorders can be challenging both mentally and physically and most people with Auto-immune disorders need to take good daily care of themselves with nutrition and exercise.
I feel like everyone has heard of diabetes or knows someone that may actually have diabetes? I want to familiarize you with types of diabetes as well as how Ayurveda looks at diabetes and what ways an individual can prevent it (if it runs in the family) and also support themselves if they receive a diagnosis. Happy learning! I also encourage you to ask questions or even share your life experiences with T1 or T2.
Allopathy or modern medicine describes two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. In both diabetic types after eating sugar/carbohydrates a person is not able to process and use the sugar/carbs efficiently resulting in elevated glucose levels. This means that if they eat anything with sugar or carbohydrates such as fruits, whole grains/breads, juices, alcohol/beer, root vegetables, the glucose level within the blood will rise and the body will not be able to make use of it as energy in a timely manner. High glucose levels in the blood over time causes several other bi-product problems. This will be discussed later.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas. Insulin is secreted systematically throughout the day and evening to create a base level glucose in the blood. The brain needs a good amount of glucose to function! During mealtime when a person eats sugar/carbs the pancreas secretes insulin at a higher dosage that regulates the blood sugar. A normal fasting blood sugar (wake up in the morning and don’t eat anything for 8-10 hrs.) can be anywhere from 70-100 but studies have shown that a fasting glucose number for 95+ can be indicative of pre-diabetes or Type 2. After eating a meal containing sugar/carbs a normal person may test glucose levels above 100 but at least 1 hour after eating their glucose levels return to below 100! (Quite an amazing display of homeostasis!)
In Type 1 diabetes a person has a decrease in the amount of Beta cells in the pancreas. Beta cells produce the hormone insulin. Those people with Type 1 become dependent on insulin injections done with a needle. By taking insulin it doesn’t correct the root problem, but does help minimize long-term and chronic bi-product issues from elevated glucose levels. Generally speaking, Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed more in childhood however, there are many more people now diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. This is called late-onset Type 1. (ME!) Between 2001 and 2009 there was a 21% increase in the prevalence of T1D in people under age 20. (jdrf.org) Overall there are about 1.25M Americans are living with T1D including about 200,000 youth (less than 20 years old) and over a million adults (20 years old and older). Type 1 diabetes affects people all ages now.
In Type 2 diabetes a person doesn’t use the insulin that is being secreted in an effective manner so more insulin gets secreted by the Beta cells. In some cases Beta cells become depleted and those with Type 2 may become insulin-dependent (by external injections) like Type 1 diabetics. Type 2 diabetes is seen more in the older population of 50+ but there are more and more people being diagnosed at a younger age. 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in their lifetime.
Have a great evening and be mindful of your health. See you tomorrow.