Being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes can be overwhelming. But getting the right medical intervention at the right time helps take that stress off your shoulders. The right support and guidance can help you manage diabetes easily. So that you can carry on to live a normal and healthy life, without any worry. The question is – are you determined to do it?
This blog will answer the most common question asked by Type 1 diabetics and/or their caregivers- Can Type 1 diabetes be managed naturally?
While eating right is the answer that most of you hear from your doctors, health coaches, and dieticians, there is more to curing diabetes than nutrition.
As you go on to reading further, you will understand:
- Types of Diabetes
- Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes and ways to control it
- Relevance of Fasting and diabetes
Before you jump into the blog, let us first know a little about the one who has lived with Type 1 Diabetes for over 40 years and has fought it every day of her life; Tracy Herbert.
She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 17 and was informed by the doctor that she will not live for more than 20 years, will not have kids and will die in pain. But she was not ready to accept it. She was not willing to give up.
Hence, she took it upon herself to find a way to live a longer, healthier and happier life. Today, she is 60 years old, celebrating every moment of her life with her kids and grandkids.
She is also motivating and serving the community and helping people find the will to fight diabetes and live a healthy life. Tracy Herbert, Founder of The Diabetes Technology Advocacy Foundation and author of- Ride for Hope: One Woman’s 3,527 Mile Solo Bicycle Ride That Inspired the Nation and Diabetes Tragedy to Triumph: Lessons from 40 Years of Beating the Odds. She also hosts a podcast Your Diabetes Breakthrough with Tracy Herbert on iTunes and Stitcher.
This blog is based on the conversation between Tracy Herbert and Dr. Nisha Chellam, Board Certified Internist, and Founder of Holistic ICON, about ways in which Type 1 Diabetes can be managed naturally.
Let’s dive right into it!
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF DIABETES?
While Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes seem similar, there are some basic and very significant differences between the two. Let’s first understand the types of diabetes.
- Type 1 earlier known as Juvenile diabetes is a condition in which your immune system destroys insulin-making cells. (Insulin is a hormone that helps the cells of your body to use glucose for energy. The food you eat produces the glucose that is used by your body. Insulin allows the glucose to pass from your blood into your body’s cells.)
This leaves too much glucose circulating in your blood. It means that your blood glucose (sugar) level is too high because your body can’t make insulin. This happens because your body attacks the cells in your pancreas that make the insulin, and you can’t produce any at all. High blood sugar levels can lead to both short-term and long-term problems.
Type 1 Diabetes usually occurs in children and young adults but it can appear at any age.
- Type 2 diabetes starts with insulin resistance. This means your body cannot use insulin efficiently. That stimulates your pancreas to produce more insulin until it can no longer keep up with demand. Insulin production decreases, which leads to high blood sugar.
Let’s understand in detail the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.
TESTS DONE FOR THE DIAGNOSIS OF TYPE 1 DIABETES?
It is diagnosed with a series of tests and you are diagnosed with diabetes on the basis of the following criteria:
- Fasting blood sugar > 126 mg/dL on two separate tests
You cannot eat or drink anything but water from 8 to 9 hours prior to the time of getting your test done.
- Random blood sugar > 200 mg/dL, along with symptoms of diabetes
It helps in assessing how well the disease is being managed.
- Haemoglobin A1c > 6.5 on two separate tests
It tells your average level of blood sugar over the past 2 to 3 months. It’s also called HbA1c, glycated haemoglobin test, and glycohemoglobin.
Although these are similar criteria to those of Type 2 diabetes, at times there can be delayed diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes. It is usually when you have a prolonged illness.
TREATMENT OF TYPE 1 DIABETES
Insulin, Oral Medicines, and Vaccines
While there are few oral medicines and vaccines, the first and foremost treatment that is suggested by any doctor is the intake of insulin.
If you have Type 1 diabetes, you should take insulin daily. You can take insulin either through injections or insulin pumps. Your requirement of insulin varies daily hence, regular blood sugar tests are suggested to figure out the amount of insulin your body needs.
Now, the point to be noted is that- Both diet and exercise affect your sugar levels. Hence, you should find a suitable blend of diet and exercise routine that suits your body and helps you keep your blood sugar levels under control.
5 LIFESTYLE SHIFTS TO MANAGE TYPE 1 DIABETES
- A nutritious diet: A diet that suits your body, is filling and keeps your blood sugar level maintained.
- Exercise regularly: You know what your body needs. Start slow with exercises of your choice and gradually add more exercises to your routine.
- Stay hydrated: Make water your best friend. Have as much water as possible at frequent and regular intervals. Intake of about 8-10 glasses of water is recommended for a diabetic person.
- Sleep cycle: Maintain a sleep cycle and get 7-8 hours of sound sleep every day. Your sleep has direct effects on your blood sugar levels.
- Be hopeful and stay determined: Never lose hope. Stay determined and always make an effort to live a healthier and stronger life daily. Never let it overpower you
IS FASTING BENEFICIAL IN MANAGING TYPE 1 DIABETES?
Studies show, fasting is quite beneficial in managing diabetes but only when under medical supervision following the fasting plan created for you by your doctor.
Below are some of the benefits of fasting:
- Fasting can cut down on inflammation and help with weight loss. It can also help in lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Fasting improves the way your body manages glucose (blood sugar) and lowers insulin resistance.
- Fasting affects how much insulin medication you need.
Fasting helps in Managing Blood Sugar Levels and Facilitate Weight Loss. Let’s understand how.
HOW DOES FASTING HELP IN MANAGING BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS & FACILITATE WEIGHT LOSS?
- The extra glucose is stored in the form of glycogen in your liver. Your body takes 12 hours to consume that glycogen.
- If you do not eat, your body starts burning fat instead of glycogen to produce energy.
- This whole process helps with weight loss. It also provides your liver and pancreas with a break which helps in controlling the blood sugar levels.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE YOU START FASTING
- Make sure you consult your doctor and seek his advice.
- Take baby steps. Start with skipping a snack and then move on to skipping a full meal. This way you will be able to monitor your body’s reaction to fasting.
- Start with fasting for six hours and then eight hours. A diabetic patient can fast for up to 24 hours, as advised by your doctor and health coach
7 TIPS BEFORE YOU MAKE HEALTHY FASTING A PART OF YOUR LIFESTYLE
- Consult your health care provider before you fast: Take your doctor’s advice and follow his instructions while fasting.
- Regularly check your blood sugar while fasting: Monitor your blood sugar levels constantly to know how your body is reacting to fasting and track other metabolic changes.
- Follow any insulin or medication regimen your doctor recommends for fasting: If your doctor has advised insulin or any medicine to you, do not skip it during fasting.
- Bring a sweet drink or a small serving of candy with you: If you exercise during a fast, carry a sweet drink or a candy with you, in case your blood sugar level drops, you should always be prepared to tackle the situation and normalize the blood sugar level.
- Eat a balanced meal after a fast: After you are done fasting, make sure you eat a balanced diet and neither hog or starve yourself. Give your body the nutrients it requires.
- Know when to break your fast: Do not overexert your body. Start with fasting for a smaller duration and slowly move on to a longer duration of fasting.
- Listen to your body: You know what is best for your body. Worship your body like it is a temple and never mistreat it.
This blog covers the highlights from the latest episode of Resolving Diabetes Naturally podcast.
You can check out the entire podcast on our YouTube channel by clicking this link: https://youtu.be/FkrOAefdOrs
If you have any further questions related to Type 1 diabetes and its natural treatment, please drop us an email with your question and a brief about yourself at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get back to you shortly.