Diabetes can lead to many lifelong complications. Traditional medical treatments have side effects and don’t necessarily resolve the underlying issues. Chiropractic care may provide new answers to this long-term disease.
Causes and Symptoms of Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease of high blood sugar. When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, or it no longer responds to this pancreatic hormone, diabetes occurs. Insulin is necessary to regulate blood sugar. One type of this disease, Type 1, is typically diagnosed in children or younger people. While the cause is unknown, it is the type of diabetes where the body produces little to no insulin. Another type, Type 2 (formerly known as adult-onset), is caused most often by obesity. The majority cases fall into this category. Millions of people are in a pre-diabetic state, and they may not be aware of it. Gestational diabetes is a third type of the disease, and it occurs in pregnant women who wouldn’t normally have the disease. People can have many symptoms with diabetes, including frequent urination, fatigue, hunger, excessive thirst, weight loss, and blurry vision. The diesease can have a fast onset (Type 1), or it can take years to develop (Type 2). Complications include blindness, limb amputation, nerve damage, and other serious medical problems, such as kidney disease, heart attack, and stroke. Doctors diagnose diabetes via urinalysis, bloodwork, and glucose tolerance tests. If the fasting blood sugar level remains higher than 126 mg/dL, the hemoglobin A1c test is 6.5% or higher, and the oral glucose tolerance test shows a glucose level over 200 mg/dL after 2 hours (post-meal), a doctor may suspect diabetes. Those groups most at risk for Type 2 diabetes are overweight children and adults, and people over age 45.1
Traditional Medical Treatments
Dietary and exercise changes are typically recommended for diabetic patients. Traditional medicine also has a host of prescriptions to manage the symptoms. Patients must regularly monitor their blood sugar before and after meals and keep their glucose levels between 70-130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL after meals. The long-term test, A1C, needs to have a target of less than 7%. There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes, so insulin is required because the body doesn’t produce it. Gestational diabetes rarely requires treatment other than diet and physical exercise, and it resolves after the pregnancy. For Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, doctors may manage this with many prescriptions, to lower glucose levels, before recommending insulin. Glucose-management pills may be increased over time until patients end up taking insulin.2 The pills have many contraindications, and for some people the side-effects are disruptive, including hypoglycemia, vomiting, and digestive problems.3
Some chiropractors point to subluxations, or misalignments, in the back as a possible reason for diabetes. If the back is out of alignment, there can be a disturbance in the signal between the nerves and the pancreas. As a result, digestion and blood sugar can become unbalanced and lead to hypoglycemia or diabetes. If patients can integrate chiropractic care into their medical and nutritional guidance, they may have a better treatment outcome. In fact, there was a published article that demonstrated that finding in a case study, and the result may be a discontinuation of insulin for that patient. In another case study, a child had the blood sugar stabilized with chiropractic care. Murray Galbraith, DC, noted that “Chiropractic care works by optimizing the neural connections…(and) enhanced brain-body connection works to better coordinate immunity and hormone function”.4