Diabetes usually refers to diabetes mellitus which is a group of metabolic diseases the main symptom of which is high blood sugar. The high blood sugar is either caused by the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the cells are not responding to insulin produced by the pancreas (insulin resistance). High blood sugar results in frequent urination, intense thirst or increased hunger.
There are 3 main types of diabetes mellitus: type 1, type 2 and gestational. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin and need to have artificial insulin injected. Type 2 patients have insulin resistance, and possibly combined with insufficient insulin from the pancreas. Gestational diabetes results from pregnancy and is usually temporary, but can potentially develop into ty[e 2 diabetes. Type 2 accounts for 90% of diabetes in Canada.ra
Type 1 needs to be treated with insulin injections, while type 2 can be treated with medication, insulin injection or combination of both. They are both chronic in that there is no cure. All types of diabetes can benefit from dietary control and exercise.
A recent study by the Institute for Clinical Evaluation Sciences concluded that 1 in every 10 Canadians will be diagnosed with diabetes in a decade. Currently, 8,000 Canadians die of the disease every year.
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), diabetes is called the "Waste-Thirst syndrome". The name refers to the major symptoms of extreme hunger and frequent urination (waste), and excessive thirst. In the simplest of terms, diabetes is caused by Yin deficiency, which in turn produces false Yang (false Heat). The Yin deficiency may be constitutional (genetics) or resulting from improper diet and life styles, such as overwork, insufficient rest, over indulgence of sex, spicy food, alcohol or drugs, or prolonged periods of emotional stress. The Organ system most closely related to diabetes is the Triple Warmer, Kidney, Spleen and Liver.
Treatments for diabetes focus on nourishing the Yin in the affected systems, which reduces the False Heat. The disharmony of the upper, middle and lower burners of the Triple Warmer system.
In practice, insulin and drugs alone do not always work. We have treated patients whose blood sugar would not come down even when they increase the dosage of insulin and/or drugs. However, after the acupuncture treatment, the blood sugar returned to normal and the patient could maintain the normal dosage.