Holistic ways to deal with diabetes refer to an overall approach to better control diabetes and its potential complications. While natural remedies and alternative medicine are not a substitute for traditional medications, they may complement your current diabetes self-management routine. Discover 3 holistic ways to deal with diabetes for better health.
Traditional Medication and Lifestyle Changes
The traditional approach to managing diabetes is to diagnose the condition, make lifestyle changes, and prescribe medications. Metformin, Glipizide, Trajenta, Invokana, GLP 1s, insulin, statins, blood pressure medications or additional medications may be prescribed. These medications should always be taken according to the instructions provided by your doctor. Make sure you understand the directions and always check with your doctor before making changes to your medication schedule or dosages. Studies have shown lifestyle changes can help people with diabetes maintain better blood sugar control and reduce the risk of complications. These complications may include heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage and stroke. Daily physical activity is a lifestyle change which may be as affective as your medication. Include aerobic activities, such as walking and swimming, as well as strength training, such as weightlifting and resistance bands. A balanced diet is a recommended lifestyle change. Read, attend a diabetes class and /or visit a dietitian to get the best advice. Your eating plan should include plenty of simple whole foods. Choose low-fat dairy products, whole grains such as bulgur, quinoa and multi-grain bread, lean meats and fish, and fruits and vegetables. Processed foods should be avoided, such as packaged cakes, crackers, and cookies as well as fast food. Patients are advised to limit their intake of salty, fatty, and sugary foods. Many doctors advise patients to reduce stress in their lives and get at least seven- eight hours of sleep each night. These lifestyle habits can also help minimize the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Use a blood pressure machine and blood sugar meter at home to follow your progress. Follow up with your physician if you see elevations in your readings.
A wide variety of disciplines are referred to as alternative therapies. Talk to your doctor about which ones may be helpful to include along with the traditional therapies in your diabetes management plan. There are multiple alternative therapies available which may include acupuncture, stress management and chiropractics. Acupuncture is a technique used by a licensed practitioner who inserts thin needles into your skin to relieve pain and diabetic neuropathy. Several sessions are usually recommended to target the problem area along with a maintenance program to keep the energy flow and channels open. Chiropractic treatments are performed by a licensed chiropractor who manipulates the neck and spine for pain relief possibly caused by nerve compression or inflammation. A massage therapist is a licensed professional who can release tight muscles and reduce stress and tension. Massage therapy can be helpful for physical and mental issues caused by diabetes. Stress management techniques are helpful to those who have diabetes and deal with its daily regimen. Guided imagery may help reduce stress and relieve pain as well as techniques such as hypnosis and biofeedback. Aromatherapy uses various scents to encourage relaxation and healing. Yoga and Tai chi are types of exercise that lower stress while improving strength and flexibility. Talk to your health care team about relaxation exercises and alternative therapies that may benefit you. Always verify practitioners are licensed and reputable. Find an alternative therapy that appeals to you and offers benefits you will enjoy.
Holistic Herbal Remedies
Herbal remedies may be helpful to those with diabetes but should never replace traditional therapies and medications. Always consult with your health care provider before taking any herbal remedies. They are powerful and may cause contraindications with each other and your prescribed medications. Herbal remedies may include dietary supplements and spices or foods. Chromium is a dietary supplement that may enhance diabetes control by improving insulin action. Ginseng may lower blood sugars and A1C levels. A magnesium deficiency may lead to poor blood sugar control and taking supplements may be helpful. Dietary sources of magnesium may be preferred to pills and include green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has antioxidant properties and helps cells make energy to reduce feelings of fatigue often associated with diabetes. Some foods may improve blood sugar control such as ginger, garlic, and nettle. Foods that are rich in fiber and minerals may help blood glucose control such as buckwheat, okra and broccoli. Some studies have indicated cloves, cinnamon, and coffee may reduce inflammation and improve blood sugar metabolism. Understand that holistic remedies may have inflated commercial claims with little or no scientific evidence. Some herbs may cause side effects including rashes, insomnia, anxiety, nausea, increased heartbeat, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you experience side effects, stop taking the product and report any symptoms to your doctor right away.
Prior to trying alternative therapies or herbal remedies always discuss them with your doctor. With the proper supervision, the combination of traditional medicine with holistic therapies can be a winner. Continue to be proactive about your diabetes management plan for the best possible results.