Technological advancement has resulted in affluence accompanied by stress and has also promoted a sedentary life style lacking in physical exertion accompanied by over eating and wrong eating habits. The end result is malfunctioning of the physiological systems giving rise to various diseases, diabetes being the most common among them. When the term `diabetes` is used alone, it usually refers to Diabetes Mellitus (DM). This is a chronic syndrome of impaired carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism owing to insufficient secretion of the hormone, insulin, or to target tissue insulin resistance. A high blood sugar level and the subsequent excretion of sugar in the urine characterize DM. Normal fasting blood sugar level ranges between 8Q to 120 mg. per 100 ml. of blood. Anything beyond 120 indicates likely presence of diabetic condition. In case of a diabetic person it is essential to talk to the doctor about the range of blood sugar level that is manageable or best in each person`s case.
Carbohydrates in the food contain sugar, which enters the blood from the intestines mainly in the form of glucose. Insulin is then released from the Pancreas in order to help the assimilation, of glucose into the skeletal muscles, fat cells and liver. When the quantity and quality of insulin produced by the Pancreas are inadequate there is a rise in the blood sugar level, giving rise to DM. Thus, DM is a chronic imbalance in the mechanism regulating the blood sugar level. Due to this, the glucose (sugar) in the blood is prevented from being used in the muscles and tissues or stored as glycogen in the liver. The regulation of sugar by the body is a complex process requiring sensitive and precise interaction of the pancreas, the pituitary gland, muscles, liver, bloodstream, adrenal and thyroid glands, skin, kidneys and nervous system. Thus Diabetes is a very complex disease.
However, Hyperglycemia refers to an increased blood sugar/glucose level. Hypoglycemia is a condition, which occurs when blood sugar levels drop down due to too much artificial insulin intake or prolonged fasting or exercises. The characteristic symptoms are weakness, hunger, sweating, heart palpitations, tremors, dizziness, confusion, unsteadiness, mental confusion, slurring of speech, staggering, urge to sleep, and finally coma. The characteristic symptoms of this condition are excessive thirst and hunger; excessive urination; dehydration; tiredness; loss of weight; itching around the vulva or penis; increasing short-sightedness; loss of sensation of pain in the limbs; impotence; etc. In severe cases, fats are used as energy sources instead of sugar giving rise to keto-acidosis, which may lead to diabetic coma or unconsciousness. Artificial intake of insulin and eating pure glucose (small sweets) helps in mobilizing glucose into the body cells and control hyperglycemia.
The key in treatment of diabetes is to ensure that the blood sugar level is within or as close to the normal range as possible (to prevent conditions of hyper or hypo glycaemia). Developing correct food habits, by regular exercising and by insulin injecting, if the doctor so prescribes, can do this. It is essential to check the blood sugar levels periodically and regularly. This enables one to see the effect of food, exercise and medicines (including insulin) and make changes in the treatment, if necessary.
Types of Diabetes
Type 1 or Absolute (juvenile-onset) Diabetes: In this condition, for various reasons, the pancreas stops producing insulin completely. This prevents glucose from entering the body cells with the result that they starve, further affecting the pancreatic cells compounding the problem and creating a vicious circle. This occurs mostly in young persons and can rarely be cured.
Type 2 or Relative (mature-onset) Diabetes: In this type, there is inappropriate secretion of insulin and/or the body tissues have become les responsive to insulin. Blood sugar thus rises. Generally, this type of diabetes affects middle-aged persons in a gradual manner being caused by factors like heredity, old age, obesity, infection and stress. It is believed that this type of diabetes can be controlled or even prevented with due care.
Diabetes is believed to be a disease of such persons in whose life there is no place for physical exercise or manual labour. Main symptoms of Diabetes are as follows:
- Presence of sugar in urine
- Thick and sticky urine
- Frequent urination
- Frequent water drinking
- Increased appetite
- Dryness of skin
- Increased dizziness and tiredness
- Weak eyes
- Decreased sleep
- Liver disorder (Disorder of digestive system)
- Disfunction of pancreas
Causes of Diabetes:
The gastric secretions diminish and weaken the digestive glands due to surplus intake of heavy, oily, sweety and sour food products. Consequently, the Pancreatic secretion i.e., insulin is quantitatively and qualitatively reduced. This results in an increase of sugar level in blood and extra sugar is released by way of urination. Lack of physical work and excess of mental stress are the basic causes of this disease. The worst drawback of this disease is that it facilitates the possibility of advent of numerous other diseases.
Treatment of Diabetes:
Diabetes is believed to be an incurable & life long lasting disease. According to Yoga and Naturopathy it is a usual disorder of digestive system and may be brought under control within 6 weeks with the help of regular Yogic practice.
Food control is necessary for the patient of Diabetes. He should stop the intake of sweets, oily and fried foods. The use of Fenugreek seeds in daily meals is specially beneficial. Sprouted Fenugreek or one tea spoon of Fenugreek powder may be taken everyday. The juices ofJamun, Bitter gourd, Cucumber and Bottle gourd are also helpful.
Mud pack over abdomen. Enema, Cold Hip bath, Hot and Cold Hip bath and Abdomen packs also helps a diabetic in an effective manner. The patients of Diabetes must walk long distances regularly.
The practice of Kunjala, Vastra Dhauti, Shankha Prakshalana and Baghi (twice a month) are highly beneficial. Alongwith the practice of Udara and Kati Shakti Vikasaka exercises described in Yogic Sukshma Vyayama the practice of Kati Chakrasana, Urdhva Hastottansana, Pada hastasana, Konasana, Supta Pavanarnuktasana, Chakrasana, Sarvangasana, Bhujangasana. Dhanurasana, Vajrasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Ushtrasana, Pashchimottanasana, Mandukasana, Mayurasna and Matsyasana etc. are beneficial. Bhastrika and Suryabhedi Pranayama and Agnisara gives much benefit. Regular practice of Surya Namaskara and Engine Race works like a panacea in this disease.