In Part One of this extended article, we outlined some of the various elements that make type 2 Diabetes a mosaic of chronic illness. We examined how each organ system plays a part in type 2 Diabetes, and how each organ system is affected by type 2 Diabetes.

In this 2nd part, we will outline and briefly examine some of the causes of type 2 Diabetes.

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

There are several very important causes of type 2 Diabetes which must be addressed in order to successfully prevent, treat, reverse and ultimately eradicate the disease. Addressing only one of the causes may bring some improvement, but often will not bring the complete results sought after. Some of the causes of type 2 Diabetes include:

  • Poor Nutrition
  • Genetics
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Iatrogenic
  • Stress

Let’s take a look at and examine each one of these causes:

Fast FoodPoor Nutrition – This is indeed a major key both in the development and in the treatment of type 2 Diabetes. It is a well known fact that poor nutrition in the form of too many refined foods, packaged foods, fast foods, junk foods, white flour and sugar contribute greatly to the development of type 2 Diabetes. In addition, the advent and widespread consumption of hydrogenated oils and trans-fats further add to the break-down of the digestive system in general and the liver/pancreas complex in particular.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1800’s, foods have been increasingly produced in the world-wide marketplace to encourage maximum production, extended shelf life, and enhancement of taste – for maximum financial benefit of all the industries involved: agribusiness, meat, poultry, dairy, etc. In addition, topsoil and nutrient depletion of the soil is a result of poor standards of food production. This is a major factor in the upward worldwide trend of type 2 Diabetes, making nutrition a vital cause of the illness.

Genetics – Western science has asserted that genetics can play a factor in the development of type 2 Diabetes. There is a certain genetic factor prevalent in some ethnic groups, including those of Asian, African and Native American descent. This genetic factor may increase the chances of developing type 2 Diabetes. Interestingly, this gene seems to be most prevalent in individuals of Asian descent. According to the American Diabetes Association, Asians who follow a traditional Asian diet do not tend to develop type 2 Diabetes despite the fact that they seem to have a certain protein that shuts down the insulin receptor, creating insulin resistance. So despite the fact of genetics playing a role in the development of type 2 Diabetes, it is promising to note that the actual onset can be avoided through proper diet and other measures.

The bottom line is that I do not consider genetics to play a major role in the development of type 2 Diabetes, as this can be largely controlled with dietary elements and good nutrition.

Sedentary Lifestyle – The human body is designed for balanced periods of movement and non-movement. In today’s society, the scales have tipped way too far to the side of non-movement. Our sedentary lifestyle of watching TV and the widespread use of electronics has become a significant factor in the skyrocketing numbers of those with type 2 Diabetes – especially among youth and young adults. There are several reasons why exercise/moving the body is vital:

  • Increases blood circulation
  • Tones the vascular system
  • Tones the muscles
  • Strengthens the functioning of the organs
  • Allows the body to utilize energy and burn fat more effectively
  • Moving the body is crucial in preventing and treating type 2 Diabetes.

Iatrogenic – This is a term that means that an illness is developed or caused by Western allopathic medicine. There are certain medications that can actually contribute to or exacerbate type 2 Diabetes.

One such category of medications is statin drugs that lower cholesterol. This is not to say that you should stop taking your statin drug – at least not without the close supervision of your doctor. But it does become somewhat of a “Catch 22,” because once type 2 Diabetes or even pre-Diabetes is discovered, many doctors will automatically prescribe a cholesterol-lowering statin drug along with any blood sugar lowering medication.

Blood sugar medications are another category that can actually exacerbate type 2 Diabetes by creating another type of “Catch 22” situation for the patient. In this case, the medication may create the problem of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, prompting the person to quickly eat something sweet (candy, orange juice, etc.) in order to offset the effects of the medication.

This, in the long run, can be counter-productive, and for most people becomes bare-bones management of type 2 Diabetes, rather than actual treatment and reversal of the disease.

Again, simply stopping the medication(s) without a concrete plan and close supervision from your doctor is not advised, as it can cause more harm than good if you are already taking medications.

Stress – This includes worry, emotional upheaval and long-term depression. It is said that stress is the cause of all chronic illness, including type 2 Diabetes.

Think about it: how do you feel when you are happy, playful and carefree? By contrast, how do you feel when you are angry, fearful, frustrated or sad? These latter negative emotions, if held onto long-term, affect the body in non-optimal ways. Stress affects:

  • The entire digestive system, including the pancreas and liver
  • Sleep patterns
  • Hormone secretions, including the adrenals, thyroid and sex hormones
  • The nervous system
  • The immune system

This area of stress can perhaps be the most challenging and complex area to overcome in the treatment of type 2 Diabetes.

In part 3 of this extended article, we will discuss an optimal multifaceted plan for the treatment of type 2 Diabetes, focusing on nutrition and stress reduction.

Laughter is the best medicineThe holidays often bring a time of great family time, tasty treats, and heartfelt giving.  This can also be a time of high stress – more so than any other time of the year.  The suicide and crime rates tend to increase, and individuals and families may seem to experience more feelings of loss during this time of year.  With so many expectations placed on us, stressors can bring joy from being with family and friends, as well as difficulty in coping with life.

Stress may manifest in our lives and society in many ways.  Whether we live in an urban or rural environment, stressors are many:

  • Making ends meet
  • Raising children
  • Meeting deadlines, imposed by work, society, nature or self
  • Being social with family friends, colleagues, etc.
  • Sitting in traffic
  • Over-booking/over-committing
  • Over-working
  • Setting proper boundaries with others
  • Worrying about loved ones who are ill or who have chosen damaging paths for themselves
  • Trauma, past or present

How can too much stress impact your health?

It has a great influence in several ways.

Being stressed out tells your body to release more of the hormones adrenaline (aka epinephrine) and cortisol.  Adrenaline is the fight-flight hormone housed in the adrenal cortex.  Designed to protect you against life-threatening attackers like bears, tigers or oncoming vehicles, adrenaline is used in very minute amounts rather infrequently as a source of pure energy.  This energy is to be used in emergency situations to keep a person alive, as opposed to the day-to-day energy that is needed to thrive.

Today, high stress can engender a constant low-grade flow of adrenaline in the body, setting it up for adrenal fatigue and inflammatory illness.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is normally released every morning to wake us up, give us energy, and allow us to move through our day with ease and grace.  Toward the evening, cortisol levels in the body drop, allowing us to naturally move into a restful, sleep state.  It is during this sleep state that the body’s immune and endocrine systems repair and balance the body.

When there is high stress, cortisol works in concert with adrenaline, continuing to release high levels of the steroid.  The problems resulting from this combination are many:

  • Insomnia
  • Palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Achy joints
  • Hormone imbalances for both women and men
  • Weight gain
  • Chronic inflammation processes, like arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes
  • Auto-Immune diseases, like Crohn’s, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

So, how do you deal with the stressors of life?

There are six ways, from this writer’s vantage point:

  • Meditation
  • Good Nutrition
  • Supplementation
  • Exercise/Movement/Deep Breathing
  • Natural treatment modalities like acupuncture
  • Laughter

Meditation – or being still – helps us to re-connect with our Source, our Higher Self on a regular basis.  This not only gives us better focus, but is also a reminder that many of today’s stresses can be controlled simply by being patient and loving with ourselves and others.

Good Nutrition gives your body natural energy, allowing it to be fully functional.  Eating high-quality food at regular intervals keeps blood sugar even.  This makes it possible to more easily handle certain stressors that might normally seem daunting.

Supplementation is vital, as many of us are missing those very nutrients in our diet that will balance the hormone and immune systems and relieve inflammatory processes caused by chronic imbalance.

Exercise, movement and deep breathing do a few things.  They:

  • Tone the body
  • Help to burn calories
  • Assist with weight loss
  • Increase oxygen levels in the body
  • Increase blood circulation
  • Release dopamine and endorphins that help stop pain and elevate the mood

Treatment with acupuncture and several other modalities of traditional Chinese medicine can do the following to jumpstart your body to heal:

  • Balance all hormones, including adrenaline & cortisol
  • Aid with sleep and relaxation
  • Reduce/manage pain
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Reduce cravings for certain substances/foods that are detrimental to health
  • Reduce weight
  • Elevate mood
  • Regulate the immune system
  • Relieve and reduce inflammation
  • Balance blood circulation

Laughter is a must.  Whether you like to watch funny movies, your favorite comedy show, or engage in an activity that engenders healthy laughter, this contributes greatly in reducing stress by making life a little bit lighter.

We will often have stressors showing up in life.  But stress is manageable and doesn’t have to impact our health.  When taking proper precautions and utilizing treatment methods outlined above, we can unplug from the matrix and manage that stress – like water off a duck’s back!