The statistics on the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes are staggering as it is now estimated that over 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes and are at high risk of developing diabetes. If things do not change one-half of all Americans adults will develop the disease by 2020. It is a serious issue that will bankrupt our society on many levels if the tide is not turned. Currently, one out of every five United States federal health care dollars is spent treating people with diabetes. The average yearly health care costs for a person without diabetes is $2,560; for a person with diabetes, that figure soars to $11,744. Much of that increase is related to the costs of drugs.
A “Misguided” Organization
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the largest and most powerful organization dealing with this deadly disease. Though the ADA does a great deal of good, I wonder if the agenda of the organization is more to be a front for the pharmaceutical industry rather than trying to offer effective answers to patients with diabetes. Earlier this year, the medical journal Diabetes Care published the entire guidelines of the ADA’s Standards of Medical Care for Type 2 Diabetes. There were many things I found extremely alarming about these guidelines. Foremost is the complete over reliance on the pharmaceutical management of diabetes and its complications along with a complete absence of recommendations for use of critical nutritional support. When medical historians look back at these sorts of position papers they will refer to them as marketing propaganda promoting the dark age of pharmaceutical interventions. These guidelines were obviously written by individuals closely tied to the drug industry – it’s a travesty. The major shortcoming of pharmaceutical interventions in type 2 diabetes are that they do not impact the progression of the disease and in many cases actually accelerate the underlying disease process and increase mortality. Yet, this approach is the only one offered by conventional medicine.
A Rational Solutions
The key issue that is not addressed by the ADA or other conventional medical group dealing with diabetes is that the drugs are only biochemical band-aids. There is one fundamental truth that is rarely explained to the patient: type 2 diabetes in almost every case is a disease caused by diet and lifestyle. The focus should be on using diet, lifestyle, and natural medicine to achieve ideal blood glucose control and metabolic targets, as well as reducing the risk of the complications of diabetes by focusing on the following four areas:
1. Providing optimal nutrient status
2. Reducing after-meal elevations in blood glucose levels
3. Improving insulin function and sensitivity
4. Preventing nutritional and oxidative stress
For more information, please see the completely revised and updated 3rd edition of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.