How Sweet It Is

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

One of my early profs in differential diagnosis passed along the truism: ‘To know Diabetes is to know medicine’. I met a researcher in diabetes at a social gathering who in an annoyingly correct way woke me up to the notion that diabetes is not necessarily one disease, but might represent a spectrum of illnesses culminating in the same sweet problem. All this being said, as clinicians our problem is a practical one. How can we help?

It is my experience that no matter what the angle of your approach, the initial step (perhaps along with medication) is diet. This can be tough for those of us with a strong faith in Homeopathy. We like to think all problems can be solved with a remedy.

Diabetes is just one of those walls we run up against that show us the primacy of lifestyle in allowing the body to heal. Hahnemann and Boenninghausen referred to the need to establish a good and regular regimen if remedies were to be most effective. Practitioners after this seemed with increasing frequency to ignore this advice.

A diet strongly based in green and brightly colored vegetables, legumes, protein, some fruit and a minimum of refined carbohydrate is preferred. Regular aerobic activity is important and some muscle building helps improve the efficiency of insulin.

Once we have completed the groundwork, many people still have great difficulty in regulating their sugar levels (even with medication), and suffer symptoms or even secondary complications as a result. Here is where I have seen Homeopathy do so much.

Consider the case of Harris. He presented in January 2000. Age 29, he was diagnosed at 8 years old with type 1 diabetes. Generally an active and productive person, he has in the last 2 years noticed a drop in energy and feels frustrated with it, its consequences andattendant difficulties. Along with the lessened vitality, his wife reports a withdrawal andsullen attitude during times of more pronounced lows. His feet show a skin dryness withdesquamation and redness, yet are always perspiring. Hands have a similar but less intense condition. He is always too hot. Of late, sugar levels fluctuate broadly and ‘reactions’ are common at night where he will wake with agitation and sweats.

Homeopathically speaking, the symptoms seem rather sparse and as expected, this means that the prescriptions will be less likely to be very curative but might lead to evoking a more defined picture to ‘shoot’ at.

I gave Sulphur, then Nat. Mur., both with the result that the skin eruptions and the mood intensified without any subsequent improvement or new guiding symptom. At this point I strongly considered some single malt anxiolytic as a self prescription.

Luckily my patient got sick! It was a gloriously cold, wet Canadian March and he came down with a rousing URTI and a glorious symptom rich fever. What was especially characteristic for me was the behavior of the feet. They became quite a bit more sweaty and yet oddly enough, freezing cold at the same time . Calc. Carb. 1M was given. The acute resolved nicely and some time later a very observant wife noticed that the moods and energy seemed to be better. Following this cue, the remedy was repeated any time the guiding symptom of mood and energy seemed to plateau in improvement. Sugar levels quickly came under better control and within another month the skin was clearing nicely.

Hahnemann tells us to persist in giving the most indicated remedy even when the indications are not all that specific. The strategy is that the vitality will ultimately lead us to a good remedy. It does happen that the clue to resolving a chronic problem may lie in an acute disease which seems only incidental. It is also important to note here that the patient was on his usual insulin throughout the course of homeopathic treatment. Patients who are type 1 may or may not be able to reduce their insulin intake. Homeopathic treatment seems more to stabilize fluctuations and reduce secondary syndromes.