Friday, October 12, 2007

Can Diabetes Be Cured?

Diabetes is called the silent disease because it usually sneaks up on you without warning. It can start with feelings of overwhelming tiredness, or a need to eat even though you feel full to capacity. It sometimes shows up as blurry vision or as flashes of light. You might have a headache that lingers long past the aspirin you have taken to get rid of it, or a cut or sore that just doesn't heal.

Like most people, you will ignore these early signs by blaming them on stress or too little rest. After a while, the silent disease becomes too noisy to ignore. Perhaps you lose several pounds without being on a diet, or you have a numbness or tingling in your hands that makes you fear a stroke or tumor. You know something is wrong that should be attended to by a doctor.

After hearing your symptoms, the doctor suspects that you may have diabetes. Still, a diagnosis can't be made until at least a random plasma glucose test is done. This test is the simplest way to detect diabetes because it measures the amount of blood glucose in your system. It can be done without fasting to see if diabetes is possibly the problem. The nurse draws a vial of blood, and you wait for an answer from the laboratory.

The results aren't good. Your doctor tells you that the normal glucose count for this test is under 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). Your numbers, he explains are over 300.

"Could there be a mistake?" you ask, feeling a wave of fear.

"Possibly," says the doctor. "The random plasma glucose test tells us only that you might have diabetes. The fasting plasma glucose test tells us for sure if you do."

For the next eight hours you eat nothing before going backto the doctor for another blood test. "I hope it's different this time," says the nurse as she sticks the needle in your arm and draws a blood sample.

The next day you are back in an examining room with your doctor. She looks at the results of the blood test and begins to interpret them for you.

"In a patient without diabetes, the fasting glucose level will be less than 110 mg/dl," she says, looking down at your results. "You are substantially higher than that. I am afraid you have diabetes."

A weight seems to land on your shoulders as the news settles in. Diabetes. You don't know how it happened, you don't know when it started, and chances are you don't really know exactly what it is. But you do know that you have it and that it can be bad if you don't take care of it. You think about other people in your family who have developed diabetes at your age, and you remember how they have wrestled with the problem. You might even know someone who has become seriously impaired from this silent but deadly disease.

"I know this isn't good news, but millions of people have diabetes," says the doctor, trying to be reassuring.

"But I don't want diabetes," you say. "Can't you cure it?"

"Curing diabetes would take work on your part. Most patients aren't willing to do what it takes to cure diabetes. On the other hand, I can treat it with drugs. The drugs I can give you will level out your blood sugar, but they won't cure diabetes, only treat it. You will have to take these drugs the rest of your life."

"But I don't want to be dependent on drugs the rest of my life," you say. "I am afraid of their side effects."

"All drugs have side effects," says your doctor. "But if you don't take them, you will suffer from the complications of diabetes, and those are much worse than the drugs to treat it."

The prospect of having to take drugs to survive is frightening. You trust your doctor, and you know that the treatment she is offering is the same one being used for other people with diabetes. You don't want to go down that slow road of degeneration that so many other people with diabetes have followed. You want to fight against your disease, but you just don't know how.

"Doctor, I am willing to do what it takes to cure my diabetes," you insist. "But tell me, can diabetes be cured?"

Battling "Syndrome X"

Can Diabetes Be Cured?

I have been asked this question many times by people who are facing a lifetime of diabetes drugs. The simple answer I give is a qualified yes. Type 2, or "age onset" diabetes, is usually considered a disease of lifestyle. Unlike type 1 diabetes, which usually begins before the age of twenty when the pancreas fails to produce insulin that the body needs to process energy, type 2 diabetes generally begins after the age of thirty and is caused by weight gain and physical inactivity. The combination of these two factors makes your muscles resistant to insulin, the hormone secreted by the pancreas that converts blood sugar, or glucose, into energy. Just as gasoline must be transported into the engine of a car for combustion to take place, glucose must be transported into your muscles for energy to be created. Insulin does that transporting.

If your muscles are resistant to insulin, or your pancreas isn't creating enough insulin, glucose builds up in your blood, making it a thick sludge that is hard for the heart to circulate. Blood with too much glucose clogs arteries, causing heart attacks, strokes, and a number of other very serious problems. Muscles that can't use large enough quantities of glucose waste away as nerves that don't get glucose die.

The cause of insulin resistance isn't known and is called "Syndrome X," a name coined by Dr. Gerald Reaven of Stanford University.

Excerpted from

The Diabetes Cure: A Natural Plan That Can Slow, Stop, Even Cure Type 2 Diabetes
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