What is diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs due to the presence of increased glucose in the blood. Glucose is the primary source of energy that we get from the food we consume. The body secretes insulin from the pancreas, which helps the glucose break down energy. The blood remains when the body fails to make enough insulin, or the secreted insulin is not used correctly. It will not be assimilated into the cells.
Over time, the increased level of glucose in the blood can lead to health issues. People diagnosed with diabetes cannot use the glucose in the blood either because they lack insulin in the body or the blood cells develop resistance to the secreted insulin. Diabetes has no cure, but it can be managed through diet, exercise and medications.
Types of diabetes
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. In cases of Type 1 diabetes, the body does not secrete insulin to break down the glucose in the blood. Instead, the immune system fights and destroys the cells in the pancreas, which secrete insulin. Although Type 1 can appear at any age, it is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. In some people, genes play a significant role. This category is dependent on a daily dose of insulin for their survival.
Type 2 diabetes
In people with type 2 diabetes, the body does not make use of the insulin secreted. This type 2 diabetes is more seen in middle-aged, older adults and is the most common type of diabetes seen in society.
Gestational diabetes occurs in the case of pregnant women, and it seizes when the baby is born. However, it is more likely to get type 2 diabetes if gestational diabetes is experienced during pregnancy. This is because the placenta secretes hormones that block insulin, and this leads to gestational diabetes.
Prediabetes is a stage where the blood sugar is higher than usual, but it’s not high enough to tag as type 2 diabetes.
This is a rare condition. Monogenic diabetes happens due to mutation or changes that occur in single genes.
Neonatal diabetes mellitus (NDM)
Neonatal diabetes mellitus is a monogenic form of diabetes that occurs in the initial months of neonates, i.e. from 6th to 12 months of life. Infants diagnosed with NDM do not secrete enough insulin into the bloodstream, leading to increased glucose levels in the blood. Studies proved that specific genes and their mutation could be a lead cause for NDM. Signs of NDM are frequent urination which leads to dehydration, deep or rapid breathing. NDM is diagnosed by observing the elevated glucose levels in the blood.
What are the causes of diabetes?
- Type 1 diabetes – Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas’ beta cells, thereby blocking the secretion of insulin. In some cases, variation in the genes can also be a factor to cause Type 1 DM.
- Type 2 diabetes – Type 2 diabetes is caused due to several factors like unhealthy lifestyle, genes etc.
- Overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity – A physically inactive person, an obese person can quickly get type 2 diabetes. Being overweight leads to insulin resistance and happens commonly in type 2 diabetes.
- Insulin resistance – Insulin resistance is commonly seen in the case of type 2 diabetic patients. This is a condition where the muscles, liver and fat cells do not use insulin well. Due to this, the blood needs more insulin to help glucose enter various cells of the body. The pancreas works actively for insulin production, but towards the end, the production decreases and the glucose level remains high in the blood.
- Genes and Hereditary – If the disease tends to run in families, it’s more likely to affect future generations also. Genes can also risk type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes – Gestational diabetes develops during the time of pregnancy. These are caused due to the rapid hormonal changes that the mother undergoes during the period. Insulin resistance can also be the leading cause for the same. Being overweight can also lead to gestational diabetes.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Each type of diabetes presents with unusual symptoms. The treatment may vary according to the cause. The most common symptoms of diabetes are:
- Increased thirst and frequent micturition
- Increased hunger
- Feeling tired without doing any work
- Blurred vision
- Sometimes numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- Sudden or unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty in healing wounds or sores
Generally, the symptoms of type 1 diabetes can start quickly, primarily within a week. Symptoms of type 2 develop very slowly. The clinical features can show up even after several years and can occur very mildly. Most of the cases do not exhibit any symptoms. Sometimes it goes to the extent that the patient realizes the issue when it affects other organs in the body.
Ayurvedic treatment for diabetes mellitus
Diabetes is a condition that hinders the body’s ability to respond to insulin that helps utilize the body’s glucose. Therefore, diabetes cannot be treated but can be managed with special care. Ayurveda refers to diabetes as Madhumeha. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder involving the excess dosha Kapha and diminishes the Agni (digestive fire). This tends to elevate blood sugar. However, ayurvedic medicine for diabetes type 2 are very effective and manages the condition well.
Reviewing the current lifestyle of people, the corrections in diet and lifestyle, mode of food preparations, taking proper diet on time, and method of recreational activities can help maintain the disease.
Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes patients is selected depending upon the root cause. For example, if the disease happens due to santarpanajanya reasons, the patient will require samshodhana treatment for their doshic imbalance. Whereas if the condition occurs due to apatarpanajanya, the line of treatment is samshamana chikitsa.
Samshodhana Chikitsa: Diabetes-related to Kapha predominance is treated with Vamana, and pitta predominant diabetes is treated with virechana. Both the treatments are done with solid medicines to eliminate the toxins from the body.
Dhanyamladhara: In few cases, we prefer the treatment dhanyamladhara, where the fermented medicated liquid is poured all over the body. It makes the body light and improves metabolism.
Udwarthana (dry powder massage): In patients who are obese along with the other therapies, Udwarthana is most preferred. The dry medicated powder is rubbed in an upward stroke. The main benefit of Udwarthana is, it helps to remove the toxins through the skin. In patients with excess Kapha predominance rooksha Udwarthana is chosen as it is beneficial for diabetes associated with insulin resistance.
Vasti: Special medicated vastis are planned as per the disease stage and administered. Few of them are panchatiktha panchaprasruta niruha vasti, mustadi yapana vasti, madhutailika vasti.
Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes includes Chandra Prabha Vati, Shiva gutika, Shilajathwadi vati etc. On the other hand, few ayurvedic herbs for diabetes are Amalaki, Haridra, Nimba, Karavellaka, Khadira, Methika etc. However, at Sitaram, the treatments are decided upon the patient condition and disease stage.
Ayurvedic home remedy for diabetes
Ayurveda also suggests few home remedies for diabetic management. Few of them are –
- Turmeric should be taken with warm water or with the diet
- To regulate blood sugar level, take half a spoon of ground bay leaf, mix with turmeric and one tablespoon of aloe vera and consume before lunch and dinner.
- Methi seeds soaked overnight in water can be used for drinking the next day morning.
- Consuming ginger tea helps to keep digestion intact. It helps to reduce the excess Kapha in the body.