Diabetes can happen to any of us – even if you think you’re following the most perfect diet. But the blame doesn’t necessarily lie with us. The conventional methods of testing , no matter how often done, can still leave us on the path to insulin resistance and we could wake up one morning an undiagnosed diabetic. Because diabetes is generally “silent” until much damage is done, it is important that each of us tests regularly. However, for early diagnosis, some more sensitive diagnostic tests are necessary.
What is wrong with conventional testing methods?
The conventional test for diabetes does not detect the disease until it’s in its advanced stage. Too much importance is placed on the fasting blood sugar levels, that is glucose levels upon wakening, before breakfast. One can get a normal result for fasting glucose levels for years while in fact your blood glucose management/control is on a downward spiral. Blood sugar levels after meals should never spike more than 2 to 2.3 mmol/L above one’s fasting level and should return to near-fasting level within 2 hours of eating. But no one is checking on that and as long as your fasting glucose level is OK everyone is happy and they tell you you’re good to go!
If you do have a potential blood sugar issue the fasting glucose level alone is not likely to pick it up. This is because your body will often compensate for an issue by raising insulin levels to keep your blood glucose in check. To give meaning to the glucose test it is important to have a simultaneous fasting insulin test. This would give you a more accurate tool to detect a trend toward insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. Insulin levels typically become imbalanced long before glucose or HbA1C levels. Optimal insulin levels are below 8.
What about the HbA1C test for diagnosing diabetes?
This is a popular test which measures blood glucose average levels over the previous 3 months. Although it is helpful for monitoring it also has its limitations when it comes to diagnosing. The people at risk of falling through the cracks are those with normal fasting blood sugar but raised after-meal blood sugar levels. Because their blood sugars fall back down to normal most of the time, the ‘average’ can be normal even though levels are going way too high at certain times on a daily basis.
What would be the best method of testing?
A better test is the glucose tolerance test where a healthcare provider will measure and compare a person’s blood glucose levels before and after a sugary drink. Because a person does the test over 2 hours, it can show the doctor how the body processes glucose. In a healthy person, the blood glucose level will rise after eating sugary food and return to normal after the body absorbs the glucose. In a person with diabetes, blood sugar levels may remain high. Using an inexpensive glucometer you could check your own levels at home 2 hours after meals, especially meals high in sugar or carbohydrates.
How can diabetes be prevented?
Firstly, early diagnosis is key, so if you consider yourself at risk, then test often. If diabetes is identified in the early stages most of the related complications and enormous expense of managing the chronic nature of the disease could be substantially diminished.
However tests are not going to prevent you from becoming diabetic as long as you’re following the conventional Western diet. This diet, with its high glycemic foods, tends to create insulin resistance, leaving higher levels of sugar to circulate in the blood system for longer periods of time, wreaking havoc in the body and leading to organ damage, especially the pancreas.
A Paleolithic diet is best , loaded with lots of leafy greens, low-starch veggies, good quality fats and protein.
It is possible for diabetics to keep their blood sugar levels in a normal range using an integrative approach. Some have even managed to reverse their diabetes this way.
However, any significant changes to your diet, exercise regime, diabetic medication, supplement regime or lifestyle should be done under the guidance of a natural health practitioner.
Firstly you need to educate yourself so that you understand your condition. You should end up knowing more about your diabetes than your doctor does. Now you need to accept responsibility for controlling your diabetes.
Your diet is the best place to start, however supplements that balance blood sugar are also going to be needed. Several studies show that berberine can lower blood sugar as effectively as the drug Metformin. The capsules in MaxD Pure Barberry Bark Extract contain 400mg 97% berberine extract.
Chromium, cinnamon, bitter melon and many other herbs and nutrients, found in comprehensive supplements such as Metabolic Vibrance are known to be of value for preventing and managing diabetes. Work with a natural health practitioner to get the best results.
Also be sure to get enough exercise. When you build muscle, it forces glucose out of the bloodstream and into cells, which naturally decreases your body’s insulin level.