diabetes

Educated patients control diabetes better than trained physicians


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(NaturalNews) The power to reverse type 2 diabetes begins with a well informed individual, someone self-empowered to make changes in their daily eating habits. A remarkable study from the University of Maryland has found that a physician's diabetes-management approach alone is ineffective and has no influence on an individual's behavioral changes. Counseling, on the other hand, helped patients ask questions, helping them try out new habits in their daily lifestyle.

Diabetes is not really a disease but a pattern of physiological signals

The secret to overcoming diabetes is in the approach and in the understanding of what the term really means. For one, diabetes is not a disease, not something an individual is infected with or victimized by. Diabetes describes a medical observation characterized by certain physiological patterns and expressions. This collection of body signals, which includes heightened blood sugar levels over a specific period of time, indicate that the body is calling out for imminent changes in personal behavior and lifestyle habits.

For example, when running, a patient may experience shortness of breath, racing heart and fatigue. These signals are not a sign of disease but is really the body trying to compensate for depleted oxygen levels in the blood. In diabetes, the body tries to make up for lost insulin by pushing blood sugar into the body's cells, and the cells have become resistant to insulin, which is a metabolic sign of imbalanced physiological processes in the body. These processes can be restored through behavior and lifestyle changes.

These physiological signals cannot be reversed using pharmaceutical drugs. No matter how well-learned a doctor is or how accredited their medical institutions is, they do not have the power to reverse the physiological signs calling out from each individual. Medical professionals are taught to manage the condition with pharmacological actions, which disempowers patients. The power of healing lies in the responsibility and education of the individual to make behavioral and lifestyle changes. New health results are attainable by changing what is put into the body on a daily basis. More importantly, improvements in digestion can help the body absorb the nutrients going in. Nutrient utilization, which includes digestive enzymes and a strong balance of positive gut bacteria, trumps mere nutrient consumption.

Counseling diabetes patients improves blood glucose levels by 49 percent over two-year period

The University of Maryland study, led by Fadia T. Shaya, Ph.D., M.P.H., found that diabetes counseling, coaching and patient education boosted long-term blood glucose control by 49 percent when compared to physician-managed diabetes! In fact, trained physicians were found to be completely ineffective for helping treat patients, ultimately confusing many of the patients who received counseling beforehand.

The study, published in Ethnicity & Disease, showed that a teaching, self-empowering approach is more effective for reversing type 2 diabetes than reliance on trained physicians for drug management and intervention.

"We were expecting that intervention with the physician would give a better or equal outcome to intervention with patients. We have not seen that," said Shaya.

The study included 823 individuals, mostly African Americans, treated for diabetes between April 2005 and July 2007. A total of 10 trained physicians managed patients' diabetes during this time. Patients were divided into four groups.

The first group was counseled before their visit to the physician. The second group received no counseling beforehand and was treated by five trained physicians. The third group received both counseling and treatment from doctors. The final group received no counseling and was treated by doctors with no experience or expertise. For six months, patient improvements were measured through HbA1c reduction evaluations. This is the signal that denotes blood glucose levels.

After the two-year period, the results showed that a half-hour counseling session with a nurse prior to treatment was most effective for helping patients control blood glucose levels. The difference was dramatic -- a 49 percent increase in patient improvement across the board! Patients began asking questions and implementing new lifestyle habits.

Trained physicians ineffective at treating diabetes

In the two-year study, physician management was found to be ineffective. Across the board, patients' glucose levels remained nearly the same under their watch. On the other hand, the 30-minute teaching sessions were very important, coaching individuals on diet, physical activity and weight reduction. The customized counseling even encouraged individuals to reduce certain lifestyle behaviors like sodium and alcohol intake.

For the group that relied on a physician's sole directive, pharmacological intervention was encouraged, because that's the way physicians are taught by today's medical institutions. The strategy was entirely ineffective, showing how worthless the drug approach is for reversing a condition of imbalanced physiological processes.

Lead author Shaya said patients felt more empowered to ask their doctors questions after being counseled. "Not only do they know better about what to eat and to exercise, they are in a better position to ask questions of their doctors," she said.

"If you teach people what they need to know to self manage their diabetes, they have the tools to do it," said Marjorie Cypress, Ph.D., R.N., president of healthcare and education for the American Diabetes Association.

This study proves it.

Sources for this article include:

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