Using Functional Medicine to Prevent and Treat Type 2 Diabetes

If you’ve been diagnosed with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, you aren’t alone. Over 10% of Americans have diabetes, and about 33% have prediabetes, making it one of most significant health epidemics in our country.

The good news is that type 2 diabetes is a preventable and reversible disease for most people. At Peak Physical Medicine, in Visalia, California, our providers use functional medicine to help our patients get their health on track and their blood sugar under control. Here’s how:

Understanding type 2 diabetes

You make the hormone, insulin, in your pancreas and use it to absorb the sugar (glucose) in your bloodstream to use as fuel for your body. The insulin acts like a key, unlocking your cells to let in the blood sugar.

When you have type 2 diabetes, the insulin key no longer works to unlock your cells, causing your glucose levels to rise. You begin with a condition called insulin resistance: As the level of sugar in your blood increases, your pancreas pumps out more insulin to try to unlock your cells.

Over time, your pancreas can no longer produce enough insulin to unlock your cells, leading to the development of type 2 diabetes. Many people with type 2 diabetes don’t experience symptoms at all, or they can take many years to appear. When they occur, symptoms include

  • Thirst
  • Slow-to-heal sores
  • Recurring infections
  • Needing to urinate frequently
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision

Being overweight (especially carrying excess weight in your belly), eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and processed foods, and being mostly sedentary are the primary causes of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Understanding functional medicine

Conventional medicine in the United States looks at patients in parts. For example, if your stomach hurts, you may see a gastroenterologist; if you’re experiencing back pain, on the other hand, you could be referred to an orthopedist. The focus is on your condition and symptom management.

Functional medicine, on the other hand, uses an integrative approach to health and wellness, considering the whole person — including additional factors, like your environment, mental health, and emotional wellbeing — not just your condition.

This allows your functional medicine practitioner to consider how different elements of your body and life work together to create issues and how to address them together. By looking at you as a person, not parts, we uncover and treat the underlying issues affecting your health.

The functional medicine approach to type 2 diabetes

Conventional medicine usually approaches type 2 diabetes by focusing on managing its symptoms with prescription medications. Although these can be helpful in the short term, they do not address the underlying cause and do little to create lasting change.

Functional medicine uses a different approach: Correcting the underlying problem to prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes. The best part? Studies show the functional medicine approach is more effective with fewer side effects.

Your Peak Physical Medicine provider uses a science-based, patient-centered approach to uncover the issues triggering your type 2 diabetes. For example, your provider may use lab tests to identify specific factors driving your insulin resistance, including but not limited to:

  • Inflammation
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Imbalanced sex hormones
  • Elevated stress hormones
  • Thyroid imbalances
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Liver health

These and many other factors can impact your insulin resistance and how diabetes progresses. We also discuss your mental and emotional wellbeing as well as your physical activity levels.

Once we identify the relevant factors, our team creates a personalized plan to address the factors driving your insulin resistance, prediabetes, or type 2 diabetes. The team at Peak Physical Medicine works holistically, incorporating recommendations for every area of wellness.

Your plan usually includes tailored dietary recommendations to lower your blood sugar by shifting the focus to plant-based, high-fiber foods and away from refined carbohydrates, fried foods, and high-sugar goods. It will also include an attainable exercise plan to boost your insulin receptors sensitivity.

With functional medicine, you address the causes of the disease instead of treating symptoms while continuing to fuel your insulin dysfunction. By revising the habits that created the dysfunction in the first place, you’re able to prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes.

Get personalized help preventing or reversing type 2 diabetes by calling the functional medicine experts at Peak Physical Medicine in Visalia, California, at 559-342-0251. You can also use our online tool to set up an appointment.

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