Diabetes: The Three Most Common Symptoms

Diabetes is present in 8% of people in the United States. 90-95% of the people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.

Diagnosis of diabetes depends on laboratory documentation of an elevated fasting blood sugar >125 mg/dl, an elevated 2-hour blood sugar of 200 mg/dl or more 2-hours after a 75 gram oral glucose tolerance test, or a random blood sugar of 200 mg/dl or more with typical diabetes symptoms.

An HA1c of 6.5% or more may also be used as another method of diagnosis. The HA1c must be obtained from a laboratory (not one of the mail-order or pharmacy self-test kits).

Before diabetes is diagnosed, many people complain of symptoms which suggest elevated blood sugar levels.

Although symptoms typically appear when blood sugar levels are greater than 200 mg/dl, there is considerable variability.

Some people notice symptoms with sugar levels in the mid-100’s, while others may deny complaints even when sugar levels rise well above 200 mg/dl.

Lack of symptoms is especially common when sugar levels have been elevated for prolonged periods of time.

#1)Increased Urination

Increased frequency of urination is the most common reason that people seek medical attention for diabetes.

There is no threshold for diagnosis of increased urinary frequency. It is simply an increase from your baseline.

Increased urinary frequency may also be due to increased fluid intake, a urinary tract infection, or, less commonly an inability of your body to hold on to water.

The different causes of urinary frequency can often be diagnosed in your physician’s office by obtaining a careful history and providing a urine sample.

Once blood sugar levels return to normal, urinary frequency also quickly returns to normal.

If increased urinary frequency persists in the setting of normal blood sugar levels, alternative causes need to be considered.

#2)Changes in Vision

Visual changes are another reason people seek medical attention to rule out diabetes.

Changes may include complaints of “double vision”, difficulty reading printed materials or watching TV, or a significant change in prescription glasses.

Visual symptoms are due to sugar-induced changes in the shape of the lens of your eye.

Since similar complaints can be caused by eye problems not related to elevated sugars, evaluation by an ophthalmologist is critical.

Once sugar levels are normalized, visual complaints gradually resolve. Unlike urinary frequency, the return to normal vision may take several weeks.

#3)Numbness

Another common complaint associated with elevated blood sugars is numbness.

The numbness typically occurs in the feet, but may also involve the hands.

Characteristically, the numbness begins in the toes, then “spreads” to the feet. Numbness may later extend to the foot and mid-leg. The thigh is rarely involved.

Numbness is worse at rest (people often complain of symptoms at night when trying to go to sleep), and is almost always bilateral.

The numbness may be accompanied by severe, stabbing pains as well as extreme sensitivity to touch.

Although symptoms typically resolve soon after sugar levels have returned to normal, some people note continued complaints.

Since other nerve-related problems may cause numbness of the feet and hands, careful medical evaluation is needed. Other causes should be considered if the numbness or pain is associated with exercise, if the symptoms are one-sided, or if there is associated back pain.

Other symptoms of high blood sugar include unintentional weight loss, increased hunger, increased frequency of infections (especially vaginal yeast infections in women), slow healing of wounds and unexplained fatigue.

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your physician to schedule further evaluation.

Remember that there can be significant variability in the severity and duration of these symptoms.

Take an active role in the management of your health.

Make a difference in your life, starting today.

Using Mother-Tinctures In Diabetics: My Experience

“Oh! you are a Homeopathic doctor!! Do you have anything to control my blood sugar levels?”

I often come across this question when I get introduced in a social meeting. Diabetes has spread its wings and has quickly started getting grip over the young-adult population as well… thanks to our life-style (do we have any style left in it?) and food habits. I have at least 10 patients who have met this silent-monster before they celebrated their 35th birthday. Thus it becomes extremely essential to think about various options available with us to control and/or eradicate this dreadful disease called diabetes from our society, with the help of homeopathy.

Much before I started treating diabetic patients with the deep-acting constitutional remedies, I had started using mother tinctures. Right from the days when I was studying Homeopathy and had hardly known more than 100 remedies in total. No need to guess the prescription… it was nothing else but ‘Syzigium jambolanum’, which has got its roots from the ancient Indian healing system – the Ayurveda. I had prescribed it to many but with not so promising results. First I doubted its actual role in the treatment of diabetes, but later as I learnt (and grasped) more about the system of Homeopathic healing, I could understand the reason behind the failures. I had simply ignored one of the basic principles of homeopathy – Individualization.

Can we individualize while selecting a mother-tincture?

The question thus arises – whether we can or should apply the theory of individualization while selecting a suitable mother tincture for a patient, or should it be guided by the clinical diagnosis alone?

If it is guided by the clinical diagnosis – then how do we select from multiple remedies indicated for the same disease. Can a clinical picture be utilized to pick up individualizing characteristics for a given case?

After more than 12 years of actively treating diabetic patients, I can now safely say that it is utmost essential to individualize while selecting a suitable mother-tincture for any case. I would like to discuss some of these mother-tinctures and their selection criteria through few case-experiences.

Clinical presentation of diabetes:

The initial presentation of diabetes has always surprised clinicians. The much-learnt clinical presentation of ‘Polyuria – Polydipsia – Polyphagia’ is rarely seen in the clinical practice now. Instead of that, diabetes prefers to declare its arrival through variety of other symptoms. These symptoms or the organs of diabetic complications can be the key to the individual mother-tincture selection.

I have seen Syzygium-jambolanum doing wonders specifically in the cases of diabetes where the degree of rise in the urinary glucose levels is much higher than corresponding rise in the blood glucose levels. I have had a patient whose post-lunch glucose never went beyond 200 mg/dl [11 mmol/l], but his glycosuria always remained in ‘+ + +’ mark. Syzygium given along with Calcarea-carb as the constitutional remedy helped him to have normal glucose reading for the first time.

A diabetic patient presenting with hematuria or cystitis often calls for Rhus-aromatica as the choice of mother tincture. There is a lot of burning during and after passing of urine in large quantities. I have often used it in menopausal ladies who present with diabetes and complain of above symptoms along with stress-incontinence, suggesting of atony at urinary sphincters.

Similarly, a diabetic patient with marked nephropathic manifestations can be helped by Abroma-augusta. It presents with marked albuminuria with offensive and profuse urination along with increased thirst for large quantities of water. Patient often complains about hard stools covered with mucus as a part of obstinate constipation. Loss of bowel-satisfaction that has started since the diagnosis of diabetes always rings bells for this remedy for me. Abroma-augusta can also be selected based on the concomitant presence of severe spasmodic dysmenorrheal in female patients, who react hysterically to the pain. They can categorically mention about the onset of pain just few months before or after diabetes showed its presence.

A diabetic patient with concomitant affection at hepatic sphere, presenting with jaundice marked by loss of appetite and generalized dropsy (anasarca) leads us to Cephalandra-indica as the savior. Dryness and burning are the key manifestations of this remedy.

Gymnema-sylvestre should be labeled as the ‘boon for diabetic men’. I have been using it in cases that either present with sexual debility with erectile dysfunction or report it after few years of diabetic diagnosis. It has not only reduced the sugar levels but has also shown its efficacy in improving the erectile power.

Calendula ranks the highest when the case presents with wounds that take significantly longer time to heal and also show a tendency to result into non-healing ulcers.

Concomitant symptoms:

We understand concomitant symptom as the one which presents itself along with the chief complaint, but has no patho-physiological connection with the chief complaint except the time correlation. Thus it just exists along with the chief complaint.

In my practice, I have tried to stretch this definition further to assess various systems / organs getting affected along with the primary complaint in patient’s life-time, to check the principle organs of affection and have correlated it with Boger’s sphere of action for the individual remedies.

To give an example – a diabetic patient, after a history of alcoholism, often leads me to the selection of Avena-sativa. In most cases pointing to this remedy, you will find marked exhaustion as the key-presentation. The diabetes gets detected with ‘marked debility not responding to sufficient rest’ as the only presenting symptom for the physician to investigate further. Avena-sativa can also be used in patients where diabetes co-exists with neurological disorders like epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease.

I have already presented a case of diabetes with psychogenic origin, where Abroma-augusta was selected based on the characteristic presentation of constipation with hard ball-like stools & significant offensive urine with proteinuria along with diabetes.

In the earlier days of my practice, I had prescribed Thuja to a case which presented with multiple renal calculi along with cholelithiasis (gall stones) as presenting symptoms along with diabetes that presented with significant pedal edema (water retention). Thuja not only had expelled the renal calculi but also reduced the swelling over the lower limbs in the initial treatment period. Thuja was followed by Lycopodium as the constitutional remedy which further helped the patient.

A remedy like Carduus-marianus that has a marked action on the portal & vascular system can be selected when a patient presents with cirrhosis with ascites and varicose veins.

In general, remedies like Chelidonium that improve hepatic function can be used to boost glucose-metabolism within the hepatic system.

Dosage:

Ideally 30 drops per day, divided in two-to-three parts

Caution:

Though the utility of mother tinctures in controlling the blood-glucose levels has been discussed here in great detail, it does not replace the value of a deep-acting constitutional remedy that can restore the fundamental metabolic balance.

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