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The History of Traditional Chinese Medicine in treating diabetes

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) identified diabetes as a disease about 2500 years ago in theYellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, the authority on medicine at that time, still widely used today. This book recorded diabetes’ symptoms, origin, cause and prognosis. Throughout the centuries, TCM has accumulated tremedous experience in treating diabetes and its associated symptoms using TCM dietetics, acupuncture, medicinal herbs, Tuina (Chinese medical massage), and Qigong (breathing exercises).

In the 1950s, China integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicines, revolutionizing the practice of medicine in China and taking a leading role in the clinical use of integrative medicine. The results have been an increase in the effectiveness and safety of medical treatment. The integration of Chinese medicine and Western medicine has proven to be especially valuable in the treatment of diabetes.

How TCM intervenes to help you with diabetes prevention and treatment

Pre-Diabetes Stage (IGT Group) :

A pre-diabetic stage typically precedes the development of type II diabetes. IFG (Impaired Fasting Glucose) and IGT (Impaired Glucose Tolerance) measures are associated with a substantially increased risk of developing diabetes, with the highest risk in people with combined IFG and IGT. Life style interventions, including dietetic suggestions, weight loss and exercise, are highly effective in preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes in people with IGT. Research shows these changes can reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes by 30 to 50%.

It is of special significance that Chinese medicine, especially acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicinals, can effectively treat diabetes and in some cases, even cure it. Chinese medicine is highly recommended and effective at this early stage.

Obesity poses a serious health risk contributing to the increased likelihood of a host of other diesases including type II diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterlemia, and hypertension. Peripheral insulin resistance, which is often associated with obesity, is one of the earliest detectable symptoms in individual at risk of type II diabetes. Acupuncture has proven to be very effective at regulating the metabolism and helping with weight loss. Chinese medicinal herbs, formulated to the specific pattern differentiation of the patient, are also effective in regulating blood sugar, controlling blood pressure and reducing cholesterol.

Diabetic Stage :

For patients already with diabetes, research studies confirmed that adding Chinese medicines to Western medicine protocols are effective in protecting the liver and kidney from damage caused by prolonged use of Western medication. The Chinese herbs reduce or eliminate drug side effects, and allow for a reduction in the medication intake dosages. Sometimes the use of bio-medicine alone can not reach an ideal control which can be obtained by adding TCM treatment. Adding TCM to your diabetic treatment plan may help prevent complications and slow or stop the progression of the disease.

Diabetic complications stage :

Diabetic complications can be classified broadly as either microvascular or macrovascular. Microvascular complications include neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney disease) and vision disorders (e.g. retinopathy, glaucoma, cataract and corenal disease). Macrovascular complications include heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease which can lead to ulcers, gangrene and amputation. Other complications of diabetes include infections, metabolic difficulties, impotence, autonomic neuropathy and pregnancy problems. Some of these complications are life threatening. TCM has been shown to effectively prevent the worsening of these conditions, and sometimes improves the condition. Many researh papers show that using Chinese herbs can greatly improve microvascular circulation. This greatly reduces the amputation rate, improves neuropathy conditions, and improves vision.

How TCM Treats a Disease

In diagnosing and treating disease, TCM not only identifies the disease, but also studies the full array of patient signs and symptoms to identify the root cause or TCM pattern differentiation. Based on the root cause pattern, the TCM practitioner develops a customized treatment prescription that includes acupuncture, nutritional guidance using TCM dietetics, herbal pharmaceuticals, and life style recommendations. These are tailored to the specific pattern differentiation of each patient. This holistic approach results in a comprehensive regulatory effect. At a physical level, your Chinese herbal formula can reduce insulin resistance, protect B-cells in the pancreas, promote insulin secretion, and at the same time regulate cholesterol levels, increase anti-coagulation, improve microcirculation and protect kidney and liver functions.

TCM embodies the holistic concept of combining prevention with treatment, and integrating health preservation as part of the treatment, and integrating health preservation as part of the treatment. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine recommends, it is wise to prevent or treat a disease before its development. This concept is widely used in the treatment of diabetes and pre-diabetes.

Traditional Chinese Medicine integrates dietetic therapy, considering food and herbal medicine as similar. Dietetic recommendations have been important part of TCM treatment protocols for centuries. Chinese herbs are a common part of the daily diet for the prevention and treatment of diseases.

What has become apparent through years of research is that the diabetic condition is not simply a matter of one or two things having gone wrong. It is a complex condition involving many imbalances at the deeper metabolic level. Consequently, the conventional medical approach of simply using insulin or oral drugs to treat diabetes is incomplete and the person relying on them to prevent long-term complications remains at risk.

Today, after 50 years of applying integrative Chinese and Western medicine in China, a large body of clinical experience has shown the effectiveness of preventing and treating diabetes type I and type II by combining TCM and Western medicine protocols. Research in China shows that including TCM into diabetes prevention and treatment has a much better result than using either TCM or Western medicine alone.

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