Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for diabetics? The biggest commonality with every diabetic or heart disease patient that I see is that they have been told, “You need to take this medication (Metformin, Lipitor) for the rest of your life, and this condition is likely to get worse.” Unfortunately, if you follow those directions, and do nothing else, it is true. You are likely going to get worse. However, there are steps you can take that completely change the game. It doesn’t have to get worse.
Let’s examine one case example from my practice. For many of my patients, experiences accumulated over their lifetime have led them to the path of diabetes and/or heart disease. Emily was 26 years old when she first presented to my office, and she was already on the road toward diabetes and heart disease. She had struggled with severe anxiety since her early teens and her primary care physician helped her to suppress these symptoms with anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. She had been taking these medications since the age of 14 without much relief from her anxiety and as a result she had gained over 40 pounds, developed high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and her fasting blood sugar levels were slowly increasing. Her primary care physician then recommended some dietary changes in an attempt to delay her need to begin blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications. He did, however, warn her that she would likely need them at some point in the future.
When she first came to see me, Emily was very anxious about her health and struggling to maintain the diet changes recommended by her primary care doctor. She described how she was easily overwhelmed by daily life, resulting in extreme irritability and panic, as well as tension headaches every evening. Every little stressor throughout her day felt massive and insurmountable, and on top of it she had developed an irritating skin condition. Due to her extreme anxiety about her health and a fear of diabetes and heart disease she obsessed over her diet and was very hard on herself. This led to self-sabotaging behavior. If she strayed just a little bit from her diet on any given day she would become irate with herself, completely give up, and binge on unhealthy foods.
Clearly, something had to change. I recommended some nutritional changes to expand Emily’s diet and flood her cells with nutrients from whole foods, along with a few simple movement and lifestyle recommendations. Perhaps most importantly, I recommended Emily begin taking a homeopathic medicine prescribed specifically for her unique set of symptoms. She started taking homeopathic Sulphur 30c one time per day. (I will discuss the importance of including homeopathic medicine in treatment below). It is important to note that Emily continued to take all of the medications prescribed by her primary care physician.
Within one month, Emily reported a complete resolution of her symptoms and she was well on her way to not only controlling her metabolic condition, but reversing the damage that had been done. She no longer experienced any anxiety and in fact reported that her mood was so stable she hadn’t felt even a hint of “overwhelm” in the last few weeks before follow-up. She reported a complete resolution in her headaches, irritability, and anxiety and had only felt mild itching once in the last week. She reported that sticking to the dietary changes was easy and she felt hopeful for the first time in years. Emily has since maintained all of her improvements and is well on her way to reversing her metabolic syndrome. She is working with her primary care physician to decrease her prescription medication dosages at a rate that is safe for her and we continue to work together so that she maintains her improvements throughout that process.
What is different about the course that Emily took in treatment from the typical diabetic or heart disease patient? There are 3 basic misunderstandings that a majority of diabetic and cardiovascular disease patients have about their condition. If they believe and live as if these misunderstandings are true, they will literally sabotage their potential for a healthy future. No matter your age, recognizing these misunderstandings and how to overcome them will help your body to reverse Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Misunderstanding #1: It Always Gets Worse
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Diabetes is Preventable and Controllable.” I would personally add to that “reversible.” I have seen it enough times to say with conviction that Type II diabetes is reversible. Much chronic cardiovascular disease is also reversible. By taking a naturopathic approach to diabetes that incorporates the proper lifestyle, nutrition, and (the secret sauce) homeopathic medicine, not only does it not have to get worse, it can improve and completely reverse.
Misunderstanding #2: Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease are Genetic, You Just Have to Learn to Live with It
There is absolutely a genetic component to this disease. Certain people are more predisposed to diabetes than others. What you may have failed to understand is that if you properly apply the components of the disease that are in your control, namely nutrition, lifestyle, and addressing your individual sensitivities with homeopathic medicine, then you can trump your genetics every time. The part of this disease within your control is greater than the component not in your control.
Misunderstanding #3: As Long as You Take Your Medication, Your Condition is Not That Big of a Deal
Not that big of a deal? Certainly, you have read the side effects, both from the medications and the disease itself:
- Peripheral Vascular Disease
- Heart Attack and Stroke
- Loss of Vision
- Weight Gain
We live in the information age. We are drowning in information. You may come to believe the 3 common misunderstandings by reading various sources on the internet or speaking to a friend or family member. Accepting them as fact only leads to disempowerment. This is what I am most frustrated by when I talk to patients, friends, and family members struggling with diabetes and heart disease. They have been convinced that there is nothing they can do. They are passively resigned to their fate and their control has been taken away. If you feel that nothing can be done about this disease except to take medication, then you will steadily coast along the diabetes/heart disease pathway, day by day moving closer to the side-effects listed above.
What was different about our approach?
First, we addressed the underlying cause. Emily was partly in this situation due to the side effects of her anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications. Her anxiety and extreme levels of stress response were compounding these metabolic effects. Flooding Emily’s body with nutrients from specific whole foods, not restricting her calorie intake, and not relying heavily on supplements or food-like shakes was key to her recovery. Our nervous system and our endocrine (hormone) systems are intimately connected and heavily dependent upon good nutrient status. Movement ensures the delivery of these nutrients, oxygen, and blood to all of our tissues, including our brain and the tissues that produce our hormones. It magnifies the effects of good nutrition. These two interventions fall into the “lifestyle” category. They address our internal and external environment and utilize these factors to promote healing. However, the keystone to enhancing the synergy of these treatments is homeopathic medicine.
What is homeopathic medicine?
Homeopathy is a specific system of using medicines to stimulate the body to respond with self-healing. The medicines act as a mild stressor, a small input to which the body responds in a healing manner. The homeopathic physician utilizes the characteristic sensitivities of the patient as data points that help to determine which medicine a patient will be sensitive to. We then use this medicine to work with the body, rather than against it as most pharmaceutical drug treatments do.
In Emily’s case, I was confident that she would respond to homeopathic Sulphur because people who typically are sensitive to Sulphur are also sensitive to easily becoming explosively irritable, experience overwhelming anxiety, troubling skin symptoms with intolerable itching, are susceptible to tension headaches in the evenings, and may experience increased appetite with weight gain. Once we began to overcome these obstacles, Emily was better able to control the factors leading to her metabolic condition and to wean off of the drugs that compounded her metabolic deterioration.
Using homeopathic medicines to overcome internal sensitivities allows patients to find faster relief in resolving their symptoms. Homeopathic treatment alone will never reverse diabetes or heart disease. It does, however, synergistically improve the patient’s response to lifestyle treatments and corrections. As they respond to the remedy and experience a reduction in their sensitivity, they become healthier as a whole person and can better maintain diet and lifestyle changes. This is why I consider homeopathy the “secrete sauce” of medicine!
If you are struggling with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or cardiovascular diseases like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, plaques in your blood vessels, or other chronic conditions, your main concern should be getting well and feeling better again. The smartest choice is to get to the root of the problem and not get “passed through” the medical system, being treated like you do not know what you are talking about or feeling.
Ask yourself if you can afford NOT to get treated. If you are honest with yourself, the answer is you CAN’T. Drugs often create long-term side effects and greater problems in the future. You can be one of the fortunate few who receive the proper support and treatment and live well, OR you can continue feeling like you do now. The choice is yours. You should be sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. You CAN take control and steer your destiny to the future you desire and deserve.
Enthusiasm for the health successes of her patients allows Dr. Katherine Layman to bring a warm and comforting healing environment to her naturopathic medical practice. She graduated with honors from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. She practices in Woodbury, Connecticut where she helps everyday individuals optimize their health and overcome chronic disease. For more information on her wellness practice, call 860-393-0478 or visit: www.ctnaturopathic.com.