Diabetes Symptoms and InformationPage 1 of 6
Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies for Diabetes Symptoms
from The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicines
On this page you’ll find valuable information pertaining to the symptoms of diabetes
- There is limited scientific evidence on the effectiveness of dietary supplements as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for type 2 diabetes.
The evidence that is available is not sufficiently strong to prove that any of the six supplements discussed in this report have benefits for type 2 diabetes
or its complications. A possible exception may be the use of omega-3 fatty acids to lower triglyceride
- It is very important not to replace conventional medical therapy for diabetes with an unproven CAM therapy.
- To ensure a safe and coordinated course of care, people should inform their health care providers about any CAM therapy that they are currently using or
- The six dietary supplements reviewed in this report appear to be generally safe at low-to-moderate doses. However, each can interact with various
prescription medications, affecting the action of the medications. People with type 2 diabetes need to know about these risks and discuss them with
their health care provider. Prescribed medicines may need to be adjusted if a person is also using a CAM therapy.
aTerms that are underlined are defined in the dictionary at the end of this report.
1. What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body cannot properly convert food into energy. Most food that a person eats is eventually broken down into
blood glucose (also called blood sugar), which cells need for energy and growth. Insulin is a hormone that helps
glucose enter cells. In people with diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin, or it does not respond to insulin properly. This causes glucose to
build up in the blood instead of moving into the cells. The most common type of diabetes is type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset diabetes or
noninsulin-dependent diabetes). People can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even in childhood.
The symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, nausea, a need to urinate frequently, excessive thirst, weight loss, blurred vision, frequent infections, and sores
that do not heal. However, some people with diabetes do not have any symptoms. Over time, the high blood glucose levels caused by diabetes can lead to complications
in the eyes, blood vessels, nerves, kidneys, feet, teeth, skin, and, especially, the heart. Such complications can be prevented or delayed by keeping blood glucose,
blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides in a normal or close-to-normal range.
Some people develop a condition called insulin resistance before they develop type 2 diabetes. When insulin resistance is present, the body does not respond
properly to the insulin it has released to lower blood glucose. So, the pancreas releases more insulin to try to keep up with the excess glucose. If the pancreas
cannot produce enough insulin, over time this leads to type 2 diabetes. Obesity, aging, and lack of exercise can all play a role in developing insulin resistance
and heightening the risk for diabetes.