Type 1 Diabetes


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that results in an increase in blood sugar levels. There are three types of diabetes. Type 1 juvenile or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) occurs in young people and children. Type 2 diabetes is non-insulin dependent (NIDDM) diabetes which occurs above the age of 40. Gestational diabetes is temporary type that occurs in pregnant women due to hormonal changes. In this form, blood sugar levels are usually restored after child birth.

Causes: Type 1 diabetes is caused by reduced production of insulin in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the blood sugar level. Sugars and carbohydrates give us energy but due to absence of insulin secretion, glucose metabolism is affected and glucose is not assimilated in the body. This increase in the level of glucose in the blood stream is called hyperglycaemia or diabetes type 1 (IDDM).

Type 1 diabetes is usually hereditary. Some research has suggested that can also be caused by the presence of coxsackie virus in the gastrointestinal tract or mumps, which in turn cause autoimmune disorder and diabetes in genetically susceptible persons. Pancreatitis and stress can also cause hormonal disturbances and diabetes.

Symptoms: The most common symptoms of type 1 diabetes are increased blood sugar levels (hyperglycaemia), polyuria (frequent urination), excessive thirst, loss of weight, excessive hunger, weakness and fatigue, blurred vision, numbness of hands and feet, slow healing of wounds and sores. If not treated, it causes complications such as renal failure, heart diseases, gangrene, ketoacidosis (formation of ketones) eye problems and retinal damage leading to blindness.

Treatment: Diabetes 1 is totally insulin dependent. It cannot be cured. But it can be managed via insulin injections (strictly under medical supervision), exercises, diet control and other life style changes. There are many herbal remedies which can control blood sugar and increase sensitivity to insulin. These remedies can help reduce the dose of insulin required to keep sugar levels under control and prevent side effects and complications caused by chronic diabetes.

  • Soak a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in a cup of water overnight. Drink this water and eat the seeds in the morning regularly. It controls the sugar level and prevents other complications.

  • Drink half cup of bitter gourd juice every day in the morning. It contains 'plant insulin' which lowers sugar level. Cooked bitter gourd is also beneficial if included in diet and consumed regularly.

  • Mixture of Indian gooseberry juice and bitter gourd juice stimulates pancreas to produce insulin.

  • Seeds of jamun fruit contain glucoside 'jamb line' which reduces sugar level.

  • A teaspoon of the seed powder with milk or curd taken twice a day is beneficial.

  • Indian gooseberry powder, jamun powder and Karelia powder is also beneficial.

  • Water extracts of chick pea (Bengal gram) reduces the insulin requirement. Include chick peas in the diet.

  • Boil mango leaves in water and drink this water.

  • Chew curry leaves regularly to prevent diabetes.

  • Each meal should contain protein as it doesn't raise sugar levels immediately. However, too much protein in the diet will be harmful to kidneys. Therefore, consumption in moderation is recommended.

  • Consume milk, cheese, curd and other milk products which contain calcium.

Apart from herbal remedies, life style changes such as regular exercise is also important.

  • Hydrate yourself before, after and during exercise. Dehydration affects blood sugar levels.

  • Avoid walking bare foot because that may cause infections and wounds which heal slowly.

  • Do not change dose of insulin without consultation with the doctor.

  • Always have a bed time snack to avoid hypoglycaemia.

  • Eat meals at the same time to avoid fluctuation in sugar level.

  • Avoid oily, sweet, excessive salty and food products; they have high glycaemic index.

  • Try and not stress. Stress aggravates the cardiovascular diseases and can cause hyperglycaemia.

Contraindications: Avoid glucosamine in medications.

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I'm Sudha Vaswani. I believe herbs are nature's little miracles that can help us stay healthy and fit. And my goal through this blog is to unlock their secrets. Happy and healthy reading!

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