Diabetes is a growing global health crisis. According to the World Health Organization, the number of people with diabetes has nearly quadrupled, from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Part of why this is such a huge problem is because diabetes can lead to sexual dysfunction, heart failure, blindness, kidney failure, amputation, and other serious problems.
For those who have type 2 diabetes—the majority of diabetics—this condition can be a cause of guilt, as sufferers are often blamed for their condition. This is because type 2 diabetes is almost always caused by diet and lifestyle choices. Diabetics are given dietary rules to follow, told to eat less and exercise more, and advised to lose weight. Still, the rates of diabetes continue to soar.
A Matter of Hormones
What most people don’t know is there’s also a hormonal link to this disease.
Insulin is a hormone that transports glucose from the food you eat into your cells to be used for energy. When you have type 2 diabetes, your cells don’t use insulin as well as they should—a condition called insulin resistance—and the glucose remains in your bloodstream, where it becomes elevated. If not corrected, this can lead to type 2 diabetes.
But insulin isn’t a lone actor in diabetes; rather, since all hormones work together, an imbalance in one invariably affects the others and can lead to insulin resistance and problems with blood sugar.
Some of the hormones that impact insulin and glucose control include:
- Cortisol:One of the stress hormones, cortisol causes insulin resistance when levels are elevated.
- Growth Hormone:This hormone promotes insulin resistance when levels are too high.
- Thyroid Hormones:These hormones regulate metabolism. When unbalanced, they can make blood sugar regulation difficult.
In addition, sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone have been found to have a link to type 2 diabetes—men with low levels of testosterone and women with low levels of estrogen have an increased risk of diabetes.
Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Blood Sugar
While following your doctor’s advice for preventing or managing type 2 diabetes is important, balancing your hormones is an additional step that may help regulate your blood sugar levels and minimize your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, there are many ways to correct a hormone imbalance.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Studies have shown that sleep is crucial for balancing your hormones, especially your stress hormones. To take full advantage of its hormone-balancing benefit, aim for seven to eight hours of shut-eye a night.
Meditation has been shown to lower stress and reduce your cortisol levels, contributing to a well-balanced hormonal system.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
Insulin is a hormone, and insulin levels can affect the levels of other hormones and throw off the body’s overall balance. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help bring your hormonal system back into balance. BHRT is known as a safer alternative than using conventional hormones, and it is a great way to improve insulin function and prevent type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet and exercise regimen in conjunction with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help successfully treat insulin resistance and/or diabetes.
BodyLogicMD’s professional network of physicians excels at designing and implementing comprehensive treatment plans to support the entire body, not just mask isolated symptoms. Contact an expert in the BodyLogicMD network today to gain control over your health and wellbeing and get your metabolic health back into balance.