Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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With each bite of food a diabetic takes, blood sugar levels rise. In healthy adults, the glucose (i.e. sugar) from food would be used as energy. Instead, in diabetics, it irritates the blood vessels. Long-term irritation of blood vessel walls can lead to lasting damage. Described as a “serious condition” by the charity Diabetes UK, high blood sugar can damage the eyes, heart, and feet.
Scientists at Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Iran, pointed out a “traditional diabetic remedy” to consider – squash.
For their research, they observed 20 critically ill patients who were admitted to the intensive care unit.
They were given 5g lyophilised powder of Cucurbita maxima (i.e. squash) every 12 hours for three days.
Blood glucose and insulin levels were measured every one to four hours, three days prior to receiving squash and then over the course of the study.
The researchers noted: “It seems that Cucurbita maxima may decrease high blood glucose level fast and effectively in diabetic critically ill patients.”
Pumpkin – a form of squash – has also been shown to significantly decrease blood sugar levels.
A review of clinical studies, put together by The University of Hong Kong, stated that polysaccharides (a carbohydrate found in pumpkin) has blood sugar regulating potential.
Diabetes UK adds that pumpkins are a “great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals”.
Some people who have type 2 diabetes will need medication to help manage their blood sugar levels.
The most commonly prescribed tablet given to diabetics is metformin.
There are, however, other types of diabetes medication that could be offered.
For example, sulphonylureas could be prescribed to stimulate the pancreas to create insulin.
In addition to (or instead of) medication to address high blood sugar, diet and exercise can play a helpful part in the management of the condition.
Weight loss has been shown to put diabetes into remission, meaning blood glucose levels are below the diabetes range without the need for medication.
Doctor Elizabeth Robertson said: “Remission of type 2 diabetes can be life-changing.”
An ongoing research project, called DiRECT, has shown that following a low-calorie, diet-based, weight management programme can put diabetes into remission.
By the second year of the trial, 70 percent who had achieved remission by year one were still in remission by the end of year two.
The results found that those who had lost more than 10kg were more likely to be in remission by the end of the second year.
Doctor Robertson cautioned: “We know type 2 diabetes is a complex condition; this approach will not work for everyone.
“That’s why we’re continuing to invest in further research.”
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