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Diabetes

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Over 25 million Americans, 9% of the population have diabetes.  Type II diabetes is growing.  The occurrence of obesity seems to be related to Type II diabetes. The pancreas is the organ that produces insulin.  In diabetics, the pancreas still produces insulin, just not enough.  Also, there exists a condition known as insulin resistance.  So, even though the pancreas makes enough insulin, the body is not able to use it effectively.  We call this insulin resistance.

The liver is a key organ that may be resistant to insulin.  The liver stores glucose.  If the liver puts out too much glucose into the body, insulin resistance may be the cause.  Also, in insulin resistance our muscles and tissues don’t take up glucose as much as they normally would.

The key defect in Type I Diabetes is that the pancreas stops making insulin.  So, the treatment for Type I Diabetics is insulin.  The control of blood sugar is to control the onset of long term problems such as eye disease, kidney problems, nerve problems, and cardiovascular problems.  The American Diabetes Association says that healthy eating, weight control, and increased physical activity helps to prevent Type II Diabetics.

Metformin is used as a pharmaceutical for diabetics as well, to lower the blood sugar.  Metformin rarely causes hypoglycemia ( a blood sugar that would actually be too low).  Metformin also does not cause any weight gain.  The main side effect of Metformin however, is stomach upset.  Also, the cost of metformin is low.

When diabetics don’t eat, their sugar may actually increase because their liver may break down stored sugar, and release it into the blood.  As insulin causes blood sugar to come down; glucagon causes the blood sugar to go up.  The body thus has a delicate balance.  Herbs advertised to treat diabetes have actually been pulled off the market because they have added prescription medications to their herbal product.  Patients should know what they are taking.

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