One of my patients, aged 58, had an initial hemoglobin A1c of 7.2%. She was taking oral hypoglycemic agents, statins, and proton pump inhibitors—the basic treatment for every diabetes diagnosis. The patient was 28 lbs overweight and worked long hours. She didn’t exercise, mostly ate a processed food diet, and was sleep deprived. The patient had a family history of diabetes, and ultimately her lifestyle expressed her genetic tendencies.
Is a prediabetes diagnosis serious? There has been significant debate around the term ‘prediabetes,’ and whether it should be considered cause for alarm. On the one hand, it serves as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and a host of other complications, including heart disease, and ultimately prediabetes implies that a degree of metabolic problems have started to occur in the body. On the other hand, it places a diagnosis on many people who may never develop type 2 diabetes. Again, according to the CDC, 15-30% of those with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. However, a 2012 Lancet article cites 5-10% of those with prediabetes each year will also revert back to healthy blood sugars.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus are chronic conditions that can only be managed using insulin, anti-diabetes medications, lifestyle changes, etc., but cannot be cured. Gestational diabetes generally resolves on itself after the delivery. If not managed properly, diabetes can cause several other complications, like hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, nonketotic hyperosmolar coma, etc. Other serious and long-term complications include cardiovascular diseases, chronic renal failure, diabetic retinopathy, etc.
Qigong (pronounced “chi gong”) is literally translated as “function of Qi.” It emphasizes the connection between the mind and body. It is a meditative method that consists of breathing techniques that can be combined with body movements in order to regulate, harness, and enhance Qi. Qigong is used as a means of promoting health, healing, spiritual growth, and overall well-being. While Qigong is not typically used as a major treatment modality for diabetes, it has been found to be a valuable adjunctive therapy for this condition. There are specific Qigong exercises for diabetes.15
Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in the United States. The morbidity and mortality associated with the disease is significant and derives primarily from complications of persistent hyperglycemia. Longstanding hyperglycemia has been shown to lead to vascular complications involving large and small blood vessels, such as arteriosclerosis, glomerulosclerosis, and retinopathy. Diabetic neuropathy, characterized by pain and paresthesias, is among the most frequent complications of longstanding, poorly controlled diabetes and is often associated with a reduction in physical activity and with sleep disturbances.1,2
The core problem is insulin. Most people naturally secrete that substance when they eat something with carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes and candy bars. Insulin acts like a concierge that escorts the sugar from the bloodstream into the cells, providing the cells with the energy to function. In most people, the body is continually monitoring blood sugar and producing insulin as needed.
The above two rules are the only dietary rules you need to maintain ideal weight for the rest of your life, assuming you apply common sense and avoid extremes. The diet works by building in regular periods of insulin relief, keeping your body from becoming resistant to insulin. Following these two rules, you will maintain your weight and health by never entering the vicious cycle of increasing insulin resistance.