If you’ve begun to see your blood sugar levels and A1C creep up to levels that concern you and your doctor, it’s time to address a condition called prediabetes. Natural medicine for prediabetes is an ideal place to start because naturopathic doctors are trained to help you make daily lifestyle changes to lower your blood glucose levels.
Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is higher than the norm but not high enough to be diabetic. It’s important not to put off treatment because some of the long-term damage to the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys starts in the prediabetic phase. Even so, prediabetes is reversible and naturopathic medicine can help you find ways to restore your body’s metabolic health.
Here are some quick facts about prediabetes:
- The causes of prediabetes can be genetics, family history and lifestyle.
- Nine out of 10 people with the condition do not know they have it.
- When blood sugar levels begin to rise, it can affect your immune, nervous, and circulatory systems.
- The outward symptoms may be too vague to identify without seeing your doctor. They include excessive hunger or thirst, weight gain, fatigue, and frequent urination.
- If your doctor sees a consistent rise in your blood sugar levels and A1C (average reading over a three-month period), prediabetes is likely the cause.
How can natural medicine reverse prediabetes?
Naturopathic medicine is designed to help the body restore optimal health and normal blood sugar readings. Naturopathic doctors have the training and knowledge in nutrition and healthy eating, dietary supplements and herbs, exercise and movement, lifestyle medicine, stress management, hydrotherapy, and many other effective techniques to help the body return to a healthier state.
When you see a naturopathic doctor for prediabetes, they will teach you how to become an active player in your own health. At times, they may prescribe medication, but long before that happens, a naturopathic doctor will first work with you to help your body restore itself to normal blood sugar levels. Rather than writing a prescription, they will help you make healthful and meaningful daily choices.
Healthy blood sugar levels are more than just glucose measurements. You’ll be surprised how even the smallest changes in your health can restore your blood sugar levels to normal ranges. And there may be underlying causes you may not be aware of. Naturopathic doctors are trained to determine the root cause of chronic conditions like prediabetes and diabetes.
How a naturopathic doctor treats prediabetes
What can you expect from an appointment with a naturopathic doctor for prediabetes? Here is how a naturopathic doctor can help you:
- Identify other related conditions that may contribute to problems with blood sugar management, such as thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome or hormone imbalances from Cushing’s syndrome.
- Assess your diet to see how reducing sugar and carbohydrate intake will help support healthier blood-sugar levels.
- Check toxicity exposure, which can affect blood sugar balance.
- Show how to track your food intake and make changes to avoid foods contributing to blood sugar spikes.
- Measure micro-nutrient levels for vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants to reveal deficiencies.
- Find regular exercise routines that you enjoy and will stick to.
- Inquire about shifting damaging harmful work and life relationships toward healthier, supportive interactions to relieve stress and lower damaging inflammation levels.
- Implement mind-body techniques to sleep better, and restore and balance stress hormone levels.
- Prescribe dietary supplements and herbs.
- Act as your guide toward a healthier life and show how naturopathic medicine can help you lead a healthier life.
As you can see, effectively treating blood sugar levels in prediabetes requires a whole-person approach that incorporates healthy eating, stress management, and overall health and wellness. Is your doctor trained to do this? If not, you may want to seek out the help of a naturopathic doctor.
You can find a naturopathic doctor in your area with the Institute for Natural Medicine’s Find an ND tool.
This article is provided by the Institute for Natural Medicine, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, partnered with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. INM’s mission is to transform healthcare in America by increasing both public awareness of naturopathic medicine and access to naturopathic doctors for patients. INM believes that naturopathic medicine, with its unique principles and practices, has the potential to reverse the tide of chronic illness that overwhelms existing health care systems and to empower people to achieve and maintain their optimal lifelong health. INM strives to achieve this mission through the following initiatives:
- Education – Reveal the unique benefits and outcomes of naturopathic medicine
- Access – Connect patients to licensed naturopathic doctors
- Research – Expand quality research of this complex and comprehensive system of medicine
Stewart is an award-winning editor, food and health journalist and best-selling author of Eating Between the Lines, the supermarket shopper's guide to the truth behind food labels (St. Martin's Press).