What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a condition which occurs when the body stops producing insulin. The hormone called insulin is needed to transfer glucose (sugar) from the blood into the body’s cells to give them energy. When there is no insulin, the glucose builds up in the blood causing high blood sugar levels which can be dangerous. Also, the cells don’t receive any glucose, which means that the body has to get energy from other sources instead. This can cause potentially dangerous health problems like diabetic ketoacidosis. This article will discuss type 1 diabetes treatment options, and how Chinese Medicine can help.
Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes tends to develop quickly. If you experience symptoms like extreme hunger and thirst, fatigue, frequent urination and blurry vision you may wish to seek a diagnosis from your doctor. They may conduct tests to analyse your blood sugar levels. These tests may include the haemoglobin A1c test which gives your average blood sugar level over the past 2-3 months, and your blood sugar level after fasting may also be measured.
Type 1 Diabetes Treatment:
In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Therefore, mainstream medicine prescribes insulin as compulsory for type 1 diabetes treatment. Taking insulin from an external source replaces the function of the pancreas, which is to produce insulin. This medicine is usually given through injections, or may also be done using an insulin pump.
There are different types of insulin you can take. These can be grouped into categories depending on how fast they take effect, and how long the effects last for. Taking insulin will lower your blood sugar levels, but it’s important to note that exercise and your diet also change your blood sugar levels. As well as insulin, there are other medications available that may help to treat the symptoms of type 1 diabetes, but none of these address the cause of the condition.
Can you heal the pancreas so that it learns how to produce insulin? A recent study found that a 4-day fasting mimicking diet allowed the insulin-producing cells (beta cells) in the pancreas to regenerate. This indicates that the pancreas may be able to be trained to produce insulin.
Lifestyle Tips for Type 1 Diabetes:
To help manage type 1 diabetes, it’s important that you maintain a consistent and regular meal and exercise routine. Try to space meals regularly throughout the day, and eat at the same times every day. Consuming a variety of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits and healthy fats like avocado is also important.
Exercising at least every second day can also help to manage type 1 diabetes, as it reduces your blood sugar levels. But this means you will need to adjust the amount of insulin you take according to how hard you exercise. Strength training, resistance training and aerobic exercise are all good options if you have type 1 diabetes. It’s best to work out an ideal meal and exercise plan with your medical practitioner so that you can manage the condition safely.
How Can Chinese Medicine Help?
Chinese Medicine can help to treat diabetes patients through techniques like acupuncture. This can be very effective at helping to reduce blood sugar levels. Acupuncture can also promote good organ health, and may help to keep the pancreas healthy as a preventative measure for type 1 diabetes. Another important aspect of Chinese Medicine is diet and lifestyle, and a Chinese Medicine practitioner may be able to help you find a lifestyle plan to best improve your condition.
Overall, type 1 diabetes is a condition which occurs when your pancreas isn’t producing insulin. This results in high blood sugar and may lead to dangerous complications like diabetic ketoacidosis. Type 1 diabetes can be diagnosed through blood tests, and is treated with injections of insulin. Lifestyle factors like exercise and meal routines are very important for managing diabetes. Similarly, Chinese Medicine can also be effective at managing diabetes.
For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help, please see our website at https://balancetcm.co.nz/traditional-chinese-medicine-hamilton/.
For videos about diabetes and Chinese Medicine, see our webpage at https://balancetcm.co.nz/category/diabetes/.
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Centre of Balance Hamilton: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine (n.d.). Archive for category: Diabetes. https://balancetcm.co.nz/category/diabetes/
Cheng, C-W., Villani, V., Buono, R., Sneddon, J. B., Perin, L. & Longo, V. D. (2017). Fasting-Mimicking Diet Promotes Ngn3-Driven Β-Cell Regeneration To Reverse Diabetes. Cell, 168(5), 775-788. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2017.01.040
Kivi, R. (2021, October 20). What Is Type 1 Diabetes? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/type-1-diabetes-causes-symtoms-treatments
Phua, S. (n.d.). What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine? Centre of Balance Hamilton: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine. https://balancetcm.co.nz/traditional-chinese-medicine-hamilton/
Swanberg, S. (2020, May 7). Acupuncture and Type 1 Diabetes. Beyond Type 1. https://beyondtype1.org/acupuncture-type-1-diabetes/#:~:text=Several%20research%20studies%20have%20shown,function%5B3%5D%5B4%5D
Wint, C. (2022, January 21). What You Should Know About Diabetic Ketoacidosis. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/ketoacidosis