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About 4.5% of North Americans are affected by diabetes.
It is characterized by hyperglycemia which is high levels of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. It occurs when the body does not produce or use enough insulin, which is a hormone that absorbs glucose into cells for use as energy.
1-Anobolic hormone (He Cheng Dai Xie)
2-Regulates body's fuel
3-Stimulates uptake of glucose by muscles, Liver and adipose cells
4-Synthesizes proteins, glycogen or triglycerides in cells.
Lack of insulin symptoms:
1-Catabolic state ensues
2-Glycogen, fat and protein breakdowns
3-Liver begins to manufacture glucose from amino acids derived from muscle proteolysis
(Dan Bai Shui Jie)
5-Hyperglycemia will happen
Classification of Diabetes
Sepsis (Nong Du Xue Zhen)
Pheochromocytoma (Shi Luo Xi Pao Liu)
TCM view of Diabetes:
Diabetes is classically divided into three types: upper, middle, and lower Xiao-ke. Each has characteristic symptoms.
The upper type is characterized by excessive thirst, the middle by excessive hunger, and the lower by excessive urination.
These types are closely associated with the lungs, stomach, and kidneys, respectively, and all three are associated with Yin deficiency. At some point during the course of their illness, most people with diabetes manifest symptoms of all three types.
Yin deficiency generally manifests with symptoms like dry mouth, excess thirst or hunger, low back or knee pain, night sweating, dry skin, dry throat, sweating of hands, feet and chest, dreaming, poor memory, poor sleep, and so forth.
According to TCM, Diabetes is attributed to three main factors:
1- Improper diet (consuming large quantities of sweets, fatty or greasy foods, alcohol, and hot drinks such as hot coffee or tea)
2- Emotional disturbances (stress, anxiety, depression)
3- Constitutional Yin deficiency (fatigue, weakness, lethargy, pale complexion)
To the Western ear, TCM diagnoses sound esoteric, even poetic. In the case of a person with diabetes presenting with symptoms of excessive thirst, the diagnosis can be described as kidney Yin deficiency along with lung Yin deficiency and “internal heat that consumes fluids, thus bringing on wasting and thirsting.”
Diabetes TCM Patterns:
Body fluid deficiency due to Lung Heat:
Polydipsia (Excessive Thirst), thirst right after drinking, dry tongue & mouth, polyuria,
Excessive Stomach Heat:
Excessive eating with susceptibility to hunger, emaciation, dry mouth, thirst, constipation.
Kidney Yin Deficiency:
Over urination, cloudy urine, dry mouth, dry lips, emaciation, sore and weak knees and loins.
Qi and Yin Deficiency:
No obvious Excessive thirst or hunger, but dry mouth and throat, lassitude, palpitations, breath shortness, spontaneous sweating, night sweating, hot palms, soles and chest, insomnia, dreaming.
Yin and Yang Deficiency:
Frequent urination with cloudy urine, dark face, sore and weak loins and knees, cold body, cold
aversion, impotence or low libido.
Qi and Blood Deficiency:
Prolonged course of illness, lassitude, drowsiness, weakness, breath shortness, lack of ability to speak, pale lips & nails, lusterless hair, emaciation with inclination for sitting and disliking moving,
Phlegm and Blood Stagnation:
Obesity, heavy head and body, localized stabbing pain on certain areas of body, dark purple lips &
extremities, or numbness of limbs, greasiness & stickiness sensation of mouth, loss of appetite.
This pattern is close to the manifestation of Diabetic Neuropathy.
How do Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine treat Diabetes?
Using acupuncture points that stimulate the body to nourish yin and clear heat, and strengthen the internal organs that have been affected by Diabetes (i.e. Lungs, Stomach or Kidneys), along with consumption of herbal decoctions which can follow the same treatment principles as acupuncture, a TCM practitioner can restore balance and ease Diabetes' effect on the internal organs and prevent further damage to the body.