Diabetes in Ayurveda
Ayurveda for Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your body doesn’t make or use the hormone insulin properly. It causes too much blood glucose (sugar) to build up in the blood. There are 2 main types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes happens when your body doesn’t produce any insulin. It’s sometimes called juvenile diabetes since it’s generally found in kids and youngsters, but it may appear in grown-ups too.
Type 2 diabetes happens when your body doesn’t produce the required insulin or doesn’t utilize the insulin as it should.
Diabetes if untreated can lead to diabetes complications such as diabetic neuropathy, kidney problems, heart problems, retinopathy and other disorders. At advanced stages, diabetes can cause kidney failure, amputation, blindness and stroke. However, complications can be prevented by exercising good control of diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Causes of Diabetes
Type 1: In type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t make insulin. This is because the immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make the insulin. You have a greater risk of type 1 diabetes if one of your parents or one of your siblings has it.
Type 2: When you eat, your body changes most of the food you digest into glucose (a form of sugar). A hormone called insulin allows this glucose to enter all the cells of your body. There it is used for energy. Insulin is produced by the pancreas. In someone who has type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or the body’s cells can’t use insulin properly (called insulin resistance). This causes glucose to build up in your blood instead of moving into the cells. Too much glucose in the blood can lead to serious health problems that damage the blood vessels, nerves, heart, eyes, and kidneys.
Certain risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
Weight: Obesity is the single most important risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The more overweight you are, the more resistant your body is to insulin. To figure out if you’re overweight, talk to your doctor. A healthy, low-fat diet and regular exercise can help you lose weight gradually and keep it off.
Age: The risk for type 2 diabetes increases with age, especially after you’re 45 years old. Although you can’t change your age, you can work on other risk factors to reduce your risk.
Family history: Your risk for diabetes is higher if your mother, father, or sibling has diabetes.
Pregnancy: Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that happens only during pregnancy. Although gestational diabetes goes away after pregnancy, about half of women who had gestational diabetes are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 15 years. Even if they don’t have gestational diabetes, women who give birth to babies who weigh 9 pounds or more are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This is a condition that occurs when an imbalance of hormone levels in a woman’s body causes cysts to form on the ovaries. Women who have PCOS are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Smoking and alcohol: Alcohol and tobacco use may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms for Diabetes
Symptoms vary from person to person. The early stages of diabetes have very few symptoms. Common symptoms include:
- Extreme hunger
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Blurry vision
- Slow-healing wounds, sores, or bruises
- Dry, itchy skin.
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- Frequent or recurring skin, gum, bladder, or vaginal yeast infections
The Ayurvedic Explanation
Ayurvedic Treatment for Diabetes
According to Ayurveda, the management of diabetes is based on the individual constitution. Treatment in type 1 diabetes is ahara, vihar and oushadha chiikitsa, which increases the dhatus of the body. In type 2 diabetes, obese patients with optimal body strength having a marked increase of doshas, purification of the body is advocated. It is dependent on dosha predominance.
The line of treatment in type 2 are panchakarma, sodhana and shamana.
Panchakarma: Panchakarma methods of Ayurveda have immense potential in the context of tackling lifestyle disorders like Madhumeha. Panchakarma is a major Ayurvedic purificatory and detoxification treatment.
Shodana: Shodhana is a method of ayurveda that works on correcting the underlying root cause and treat the disease by detoxifying. This method removes the harmful toxins from the body.
Shamana: Shamana revitalizes the body by treating imbalances and neutralizing any impurities that remain after detoxification. It is a healing treatment. Shamana rejuvenates the body’s core functions, restores and revives the systems harmed during the sickness.
Diabetes can be controlled by giving attention to ahara (diet), vihara (exercise) and oushadha (medicines). Ahara and Vihara are very crucial to control blood sugar level and prevent complications of the disease.
As with any healthy eating program, a diabetic diet is more about your overall dietary pattern rather than obsessing over specific foods. Aim to eat more natural, unprocessed food and less packaged and convenience foods.
- Healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, fish oils, flax seeds, or avocados.
- Fruits and vegetables—ideally fresh, the more colourful the better; whole fruit rather than juices.
- High-fibre cereals and bread made from whole grains.
- Fish and shellfish, organic chicken or turkey.
- High-quality protein such as eggs, beans, low-fat dairy, and unsweetened yoghurt.
- Packaged and fast foods, especially those high in sugar, baked goods, sweets, chips, desserts.
- White bread, sugary cereals, refined pasta or rice.
- Processed meat and red meat.
- Low-fat products that have replaced fat with added sugar, such as fat-free yoghurt.
Ayurveda treatment for diabetes requires proper analysis and long term management for avoiding complications. At Krishnendu Ayurveda, we have a very systematic approach in treating diabetes; we plan a customized treatment for each individual which is specific to their symptoms.