The Science Behind Diabetes

In the world of health and wellness, diabetes is often perceived as an unalterable life sentence. Decades of research, however, have shown this notion to be misguided. We now stand on the precipice of a new understanding – diabetes is not a life sentence, but a reversible condition. This shift in understanding has been spearheaded by a series of groundbreaking clinical studies by renowned doctors like Dr. Neal D. Barnard, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and Dr. Gabriel Cousens. Their collective work, coupled with the efforts of other global health professionals, has given us the keys to unlock a diabetes-free life. The Science Behind Diabetes At the heart of this revolution is a simple yet potent tool: the plant-based diet. Its efficacy in combating diabetes is rooted in a deep understanding of the biological mechanisms that lead to this condition, and how diet influences these mechanisms. Type 2 diabetes, the most prevalent form of diabetes, is a condition in which the body becomes resistant to insulin, a hormone crucial for regulating blood sugar levels. This insulin resistance prevents glucose from entering cells efficiently, leading to high blood sugar levels, which is the hallmark of diabetes. Dietary choices can significantly impact this intricate biological machinery. Foods high in refined carbohydrates or added sugars, such as soda, candy, and certain types of bread, can cause rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, exacerbating insulin resistance. On the other hand, foods rich in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. The Impact of the Modern Diet The modern diet, heavily leaning towards processed foods, refined sugars, grains, and oils, as well as trans fats, has been linked to a surge in diabetes cases. These foods contribute to insulin resistance, promote inflammation, and are often devoid of necessary micronutrients, creating an internal environment ripe for the development of diabetes. For example, processed meats like sausages and hot dogs, baked goods loaded with trans fats, and sugary drinks are all part of a modern diet that contributes to insulin resistance. The Power of a Plant-Based Diet A plant-based diet, on the other hand, operates on a different spectrum. Renowned doctors like Barnard and Fuhrman have demonstrated through their clinical research that a vegan diet is three times more effective at controlling blood sugar levels compared to the standard diet prescribed for diabetes management. This diet is rich in nutrients, low in fat, and devoid of animal products that can interfere with insulin function. In one of Dr. Barnard’s studies, 43% of participants following a vegan diet were able to reduce their diabetes medication, compared to just 26% in the control group. Similarly, Dr. Fuhrman’s research has shown that 90% of type 2 diabetes patients who followed a high-nutrient density diet were able to end their insulin use within the first month. How a Plant-Based Diet Works A low-fat, plant-based diet helps mitigate the dietary causes of diabetes by addressing three main factors: reducing fat that interferes with hormones, alkalizing and reducing inflammation in the system, and providing an abundance of micronutrients. It helps insulin bind more efficiently to cell receptors, opening pathways for glucose to enter the cell, thereby decreasing blood sugar levels. Plant-Based Breakfast: A Strong Start to Your Day Starting the day with a nutrient-rich, alkalizing green smoothie, for instance, can help reduce overnight acidity buildup and provide a healthy, low-fat, and nutritious start to your day. This smoothie, packed with spinach, cucumbers, ginger, lemon, and chia seeds, is a testament to the power of a plant-based diet in managing diabetes. Other plant-based breakfast options could include a bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh fruits and nuts, whole grain toast with avocado, or a tofu scramble with a variety of vegetables. Additional Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet Further, a low-fat, plant-based diet not only manages diabetes but also significantly improves overall health. It aids in lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure, and promoting weight loss, which are beneficial for individuals with diabetes who often have to contend with these comorbid conditions. A study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that a plant-based diet can lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. Another study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that a plant-based diet can significantly reduce blood pressure. Furthermore, a review in the Journal of General Internal Medicine demonstrated that plant-based diets are effective for weight loss. The Importance of a Holistic Approach While diet is an essential component of diabetes management, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. A holistic approach encompassing exercise and meditation is vital. Regular physical activity helps improve insulin sensitivity, while mindfulness practices like meditation can help manage stress, a well-known aggravator of blood sugar levels. Aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling, as well as resistance training, can be particularly beneficial for insulin sensitivity. As for mindfulness practices, studies have shown that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and yoga can help manage stress and improve blood sugar control. Conclusion Harnessing the power of a plant-based diet, coupled with a holistic approach, can set you on the path to a diabetes-free life. However, always remember to consult your healthcare provider before making any significant dietary changes or beginning any health program. Remember, reversing diabetes is not a quick fix but a journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

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Why Surgery Should Be Your Physical Therapist’s Last Resort for Chronic Pain

Surgery isn’t the only option for chronic pain. Conservative therapy works just as well. Whether it’s from a sudden musculoskeletal injury or a degenerative disorder such as arthritis, most people will experience bouts of persistent pain during their lifetime. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 50 million adults in the U.S. have endured chronic pain that lasts three months or more. In addition to being a medical issue, chronic pain exacts a high toll in lost productivity and healthcare costs. If you’re one of the millions of people affected by chronic pain, you may think surgery is the only answer. But that’s not so. In most cases, your orthopedist will recommend conservative methods such as physical therapy to ease your pain. With a customized treatment plan, you’ll realize a dramatic reduction in your discomfort. What is conservative therapy? Most often the first line of treatment for orthopedic conditions, conservative therapy involves non-surgical, non-invasive remedies for pain management. Compared to surgery, a conservative plan carries less risk. That doesn’t mean it will work in every case, as some acute injuries, such a full ligament tear, may require surgical intervention. Your orthopedist will determine whether surgery or physical therapy will work for your specific condition. Yet most orthopedic injuries respond well to conservative therapy, with surgery considered as a last resort. Conservative therapy takes a three-pronged approach to easing pain and improving your mobility. These treatments are usually done in combination with each other. Medication. Pain relievers like non-steroidal, anti-inflammatories such as Advil and aspirin can be bought over the counter. Your doctor may also prescribe a muscle relaxer. Steroid injections can decrease inflammation and pain for up to six months, but must be administered carefully. Cortisone shots are usually limited to three or four a year to not damage the tissues. While medications provide quick pain relief, long-term use of drugs is not recommended due to the potential for dependency. Further, medication doesn’t address the source of the pain, which is where physical therapy comes in. Physical therapy. A physical therapist will review your condition and pinpoint what may be causing the pain and stiffness. Using that information, the therapist will devise a customized exercise plan to strengthen your muscles and increase your range of motion. You can do these exercises in the clinic under the guidance of your therapist or at home. Your therapist may also employ hot/cold therapy and electrical stimulation, and they may manually move the joints and massage the tissues to improve mobility, as well. Lifestyle changes. Modifying how you go about your daily activities can also decrease your discomfort. You may be stressing your muscles and joints without even knowing it. A physical therapist can show you how to improve your posture or lift heavy objects the right way so you don’t strain your back, neck, or shoulders. In essence, conservative therapy combines medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes within a holistic treatment plan to manage acute or chronic pain. You may not realize immediate pain relief, but if you stick with it, you’ll soon reap the benefits of taking a conservative path to stop your pain. Best of all, you’ll have avoided surgery, which can be very taxing for the body to recover from.

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How can hypnobirthing be used for a caesarean birth?

There’s a common misconception that hypnobirthing can only be used for vaginal births and not for c-sections. But that’s just not true! Hypnobirthing techniques can (and in our view should!) be used for any kind of birth. The primary goal of hypnobirthing is to create a calm internal dialogue. This down regulates the body’s nervous system, keeping you relaxed so your body can do what it needs to do. A positive C-section birth is all about being calm and focusing on meeting your baby, just like any other birth! So how can you achieve this? Knowledge is power Understanding the process and reasoning for a caesarean section can help you to feel more comfortable with the procedure overall. Whether the operation is planned or unplanned, you will have the opportunity to discuss the procedure and process with doctors at the time, but it can be more stressful if this conversation is happening during labour and you don’t have any knowledge up front. So, first of all, check out our article about c-sections so you have a good understanding of what’s involved. If a caesarean is not your primary birth choice but is something that your medical team is suggesting, you may feel that you have a tough decision to make. Only you can make this decision, based on the medical information you are given, so we advocate using the BRAIN (Benefits, Risks, Alternative, Intuition, Nothing) acronym. It’s also helpful if your birth partner can use the same process, so we encourage you to discuss this in advance. This is all covered in our Hypnobirthing Pack if you would like more information. Relaxation techniques for c-sections Up-breathing is going to be your friend during a C-section. The theatre environment can be quite busy and any major surgery is enough to get your mind racing, so using your breathwork to calm you down is incredibly powerful. You can find free breathing tutorials on our YouTube page or learn the techniques in a guided way in our Hypnobirthing Pack. The importance of your internal dialogue Your internal dialogue is the key to remaining relaxed and enjoying that moment that you meet your baby. Oxytocin is really important during C-sections and will be supportive of your milk production, so you will want to create an environment that makes you feel good! It is true that there can be some limitations to making changes to the physical environment in theatre, but when you meet your practitioner before the operation, you can ask for reasonable adjustments. So think of each of the senses we talk about in hypnobirthing to generate those good vibes! Sound – You can listen to music of your choice, relaxation audios or positive affirmations to get you in the zone!Most theatres have modern speaker facilities where you can plug in your phone, so this is easy to arrange, but if this is not the case you should be able to play music quietly on your phone or through your headphones. Sight – Dimming theatre lighting is quite difficult, it is naturally bright and required to be able to safely carry out the procedure. Some theatres do have multiple light sources and obstetricians that are happy to work in dimmed lighting, but this can be a more difficult physical adjustment. If you are finding the lighting intense, closing your eyes, focusing on your birth partner and using your breathing techniques can be very helpful. You could also use an eye mask. Touch – The use of gentle touch of your head or arms can be utilised throughout the procedure, your birth partner can practice this in advance too. Smell – you can use aromatherapy oils, dabbing your wrists or soaking some cotton wool and taping it to your hospital gown. Taste –  Like we said, prepare with a big meal the night before and look forward to that tea and toast that’s coming your way! Requests you can make for your c-section Gentle caesareans Gentle caesareans are becoming increasingly common. They essentially aim to bring elements of a vaginal birth to c-sections. Here are a few ways you can do this. Skin to skin contact – It is now normalised for babies to be put directly onto their parent’s chest after birth for immediate skin to skin contact. Your gown will be loose enough for you to have close contact. Lowering drapes – Lowering the drapes, or screen between your upper and lower body, is easily done and becoming much more normalised. This means you can see your baby being born and the parents can be the first people to find out the sex of the baby Delayed cord clamping – This is facilitated as standard at all births, where the baby is born without the need for resuscitation. It is usually about 2 minutes in theatre, there is the possibility at a vaginal birth for this to be much longer but in order to keep the baby warm and facilitate skin to skin while keeping the sterile environment protected, it is difficult to to allow this for longer in the current set up. Remember, C-sections are simply a mode of birth and if they are right for you and your baby, you can make them a hugely positive experience.

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Need To Know Before Having An Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

When you have uncomfortable and concerning digestive problems, getting a picture of what’s actually going on inside your body is the key to diagnosis. An upper endoscopy at GastroDoxsallows Bharat Pothuri, MD, to get such an image. During the procedure, a thin tube with a light and camera attached are inserted through your mouth and throat to get a look at your esophagus, stomach, and first part of your small intestine. By seeing what’s going on in these areas of your digestive tract, an upper endoscopy can help Dr. Pothuri to identify the cause of unusual bleeding, swallowing problems, nausea and vomiting, heartburn, and pain in the abdomen or chest. Take a moment to learn how this important diagnostic tool can help you get the proper treatment and relief from digestive discomfort. What indicates that you need an upper endoscopy? Dr. Pothuri may order an upper endoscopy as part of a comprehensive screening of your digestive tract. You may need the procedure if you have: Trouble swallowing Upper belly pain Chest pain that’s not related to heart problems Unexplained weight loss Continuous vomiting Constipation or diarrhea Bleeding in your upper gastrointestinal tract The endoscope gives Dr.Pothuri a good view – better than can be obtained with X-rays – to find tumors, inflammation, or ulcers. Conditions we can diagnose with an upper endoscopy Your digestive tract is complex. When it’s not operating as it should, an upper endoscopy can narrow down the cause. The procedure can diagnose gastroesophageal reflux disease, hiatal hernias, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and infections. Many of these conditions show similar symptoms, but are distinct disorders. An upper endoscopy allows for a more precise diagnosis, so that you can then get an appropriate, effective treatment plan. Sometimes an upper endoscopy is used for treatment During an upper endoscopy, the doctor can also perform procedures using small instruments to help treat problems with your digestive tract. These procedures include: Banding of abnormal veins Controlling bleeding Opening blockages or narrow areas Doing tissue biopsies Removing polyps or tumors Prior to the procedure, you need to fast for about eight hours so the upper part of the digestive tract is cleared of food. Talk to Dr. Pothuri about how to handle any prescription medications you take and when you should take them. Usually, Dr. Pothuri performs an upper endoscopy as an outpatient procedure, meaning you go home the same day to recover. You need a ride home following the procedure, as the sedation provided can make you drowsy and unable to drive. Usually, general anesthesia is not required. Expect to have a little soreness in your throat and some gassiness following the procedure. These side effects resolve in a few days. Usually you can return to your normal diet as soon as you feel up to it. If you have digestion issues that suggest an upper endoscopy is in order, trust Bharat Pothuri, MD, of GastroDoxs to professionally and compassionately perform the procedure. Call the office, serving those in the greater Houston area of Texas to make an appointment, or you can schedule online.

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