Diabetes affects blood sugar levels and causes many health issues in our population. Diabetes can be controlled with a combination of a proper diet, moderate exercise, lowered stress levels and chiropractic adjustments.
Could you explain the different types of diabetes people can get?
Dr. Ken Freedman: Oh, I’d be happy to Liz. Some of the most common forms of diabetes, well actually the real name is diabetes mellitus. That’s the Latin name for diabetes. We call it diabetes. Type 1 diabetes mellitus occurs when a person can’t produce insulin, which is needed to control blood glucose levels, the level of sugar in your blood. Type 2 diabetes mellitus, which is a lot more common, most people know diabetes to be type 2, that happens when the body can’t produce enough insulin or the insulin isn’t working efficiently enough. Now, insulin is a hormone and insulin helps the sugar from the food enter the cells in your body. It’s something that everybody needs and for a lot of people the body naturally makes enough, but if you have type 2 diabetes, your body might not use the insulin that you make efficiently. Sugar or glucose can’t enter the cells to be used for energy. Instead, it builds up in your bloodstream causing what we know as high blood sugar. The symptoms of high blood sugar can include feeling hungry or being extraordinarily tired or thirsty, having dry or itchy skin, frequently needing to urinate, or experiencing blurred vision.
There’s two more forms of diabetes. One is gestational diabetes mellitus. That occurs when pregnant women have high blood glucose levels due to hormones produced during their pregnancy. That’s important because a diagnosis of gestational diabetes means that a pregnant woman is at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
Then, people who are classified as being pre-diabetic. That’s a condition in which their blood sugar is high, but it’s not high enough, long enough, to be classified as type 2 diabetes.
Is healthy eating the biggest factor in controlling diabetes?
Dr. Ken Freedman: It is one of the biggest factors. Healthy eating is key, but there are other factors that are involved as well such as the ability for your body to be able to work as effectively as possible and how often you exercise, which we can always talk about more later. When it comes to healthy eating, that’s one of the biggest factors; so two things that a person can do would be to control their food balance. Nobody can demand that his or her pancreas release a specific amount of insulin. Insulin is made in the pancreas so you can’t necessarily will how your pancreas works. The only side of the equation that can be controlled by a person is the food that they put into their body, especially the carbohydrates. Although, eating too many proteins, vegetables, and fruits could lead to gaining weight, the energy of unlocked carbohydrates is usually the culprit, so you want to make sure that you eat more complex foods.
Keep track of the number and kind of calories that you consume on a daily basis. That is one of the first steps in improving and controlling diabetes and even helping to heal it. A lot of the calories eaten in a day should consist of fiber found in vegetables and fruits. Next, focus on complex carbohydrates represented by unrefined or minimally refined grains. Proteins that are found in meat and poultry, fish, animal products, should be consumed in small portions each day and eating frequently throughout the day helps maintain stable blood sugar levels instead of eating big, gigantic meals at separate times with long intervals in between. Finally, try to avoid the simple sugars that are found in highly refined foods. You know, the empty calories, Liz, that are in sugared drinks, sodas, desserts, white bread. Complex, preferably raw foods, are digested more slowly and that prevents insulin spikes, so that’s a lot healthier.
There are other things that people can do, too. People should exercise more. So, you might ask me, Liz, why should someone with diabetes exercise more? Exercise is just as important as nutrition. To be healthy, a person needs to take in nutrients and expend energy in the right balance, so just as important as eating the right amount of food the right way, people need to exercise correctly and in the right amount. Appropriate exercise will use excess calories, it will keep the lungs and heart healthy, and it will keep body weight under control; but remember that to use your muscles and joints and to keep your organs and glands functioning better, it’s important to see a chiropractor because chiropractors evaluate the energy that flows between your brain and body.
Should the vertebrae in the spine go out of alignment and produce a condition called vertebral subluxation complex, that’s going to irritate the nerves and impair the flow of energy so the pancreas doesn’t work effectively. If it’s not working effectively, how can it produce the proper levels of insulin and if you need to exercise, how can your muscles and joints exercise in a balanced way and effectively if they’re not getting proper energy as well? So, regular chiropractic checkups improve your body’s ability to be able to function a lot better so you can not only metabolize your food more effectively, but also be able to get the most out of the exercise that you’re doing.
How does lowering your stress level help control diabetes?
Dr. Ken Freedman: Reducing physical, chemical, and emotional stress helps the body function better, so identifying where your body may be stressed physically and eliminating the things that are very stressful to your body’s frame, like losing weight. We have a fantastic weight loss program in my office called the Doctor Supervised ChiroThin Weight Loss Program, which is a low glycemic index, it’s a low sugar, low fat program where people eat real food on a daily basis that they buy at the supermarket and it helps them lose 20 to 35 pounds in about six weeks with no exercise or drugs or pre-packaged foods or shakes or bars, so it’s very effective.
Also, identifying the chemicals that you’re exposed to in the foods that you eat, in the things that you breathe in your home, and the things that you put on your body. Then, identifying the emotional stresses that trigger reactions. You know, when people are stressed emotionally, Liz, the react typically where either they don’t eat enough, or they eat too much or they eat the wrong things. They go to comfort foods, especially sugary things, to feel better and that can wreak havoc on your body and on your blood sugar levels. By identifying and lowering stress levels, it’s going to help control diabetes a lot more effectively.
Why is smoking even worse if you have diabetes?
Dr. Ken Freedman: Smokers are more than twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-smokers are. Also, the damage to the cells caused by smoking weakens them against the onslaught of diabetes. By removing smoking, a very harmful habit, and substituting better ones of healthy diet, exercise, regular chiropractic care, thinking thoughts that serve you better, life can not only last longer, but be a lot healthier and more enjoyable.
RC: Thank you so much, Dr. Freedman. We know that you’re about to begin your hours, so I just want to thank you for your time and your help today.
Dr. Ken Freedman: You’re welcome, Liz. You know, diabetes is no joke. It can cause obesity, cardiovascular disease and bring on death a lot sooner, so if a person’s been diagnosed with diabetes, they need to know that insulin promoting medications and insulin are not the only ways to address this serious health issue. It’s important to take control of your life, that’s the best way to control diabetes, so this control means balancing healthy food that you put into your body with optimal exercise, so that’s the output of calories, by removing interferences to your body’s natural ability to function better with regular chiropractic checkups, and physical, chemical, and emotional stress reduction. All these things will directly translate into leading a healthier, longer, and happier life.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Ken Freedman, visit www.freedmanchiropracticcenter.com or call (732) 254-6011 to schedule an appointment.