Researchers found that type 2 diabetes patients who received naturopathic care (alongside regular care) experienced many positive benefits. They had lower blood-sugar levels, better eating and exercise habits, improved moods, and a stronger sense of control over their condition compared to patients receiving only conventional care.
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The findings show that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) may have several positive effects on people with type 2 diabetes. That is a pretty important revelation for nearly 26 million American diabetics.
It is encouraging news for those fighting the disease. Patients in the study cited the benefits of trying different approaches to find the best ways to minimize the effects of type 2 diabetes. Forty of them received counseling on diet, exercise, and glucose monitoring from four naturopathic physicians — in addition to conventional diabetes care from their doctors (drugs included).
Many participants also received stress-management care and dietary supplements. Researchers then compared these 40 participants with 329 patients receiving only conventional diabetes care.
In six months and about four naturopathic treatment visits, participants demonstrated improved self-care, more consistent monitoring of glucose, and improved moods. Hemoglobin A1c rates (a measure of blood-sugar control) were nearly a full percentage point lower for those patients. This compares with a drop of only 0.5% over the same time period for 329 similar patients receiving only conventional diabetes care.
Finding more effective ways of treating type 2 diabetes is important, because it is one of the top-10 causes of death in Americans and is costly to treat: $1.00 out of every $10.00 spent on healthcare in the U.S. is used to fight type 2 diabetes, at a cost of $178 billion every year.
Naturopathy believes in nature as a healing force. The cause of the disease is very important and practitioners will try to find it by understanding your mind, body and spirit. Many therapies may be used, including herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, and nutrition changes. The overarching goal is to prevent disease and educate patients.