By Dr. Nancy Gahles, DC, CCH, RSHom(NA), OIM (reprint from IP.com)
Type 2 diabetes is known among healthcare professionals as a disease that is amenable to diet and lifestyle changes. Reducing obesity, one of the comorbid conditions associated with Type 2 diabetes, has been demonstrated to reduce risk factors and the condition itself.
Diabetes represents one of the largest cost factors in our healthcare system and one of the most prevalent in our lives. Lifestyle is a word often bandied about in terms of diabetes management. Generally, it refers to exercise, diet and reducing stress.
The ubiquitous word stress rears its head in the vernacular. It’s common usage has diluted the meaning to a generalized sense of angst or discomfort, irritation in everyday functions. The verb stressed is recounted to me by patients on a daily basis as a way in which they convey the etiology of their dis-ease. And dis-ease it is. And stressed they are, but how so?
The link between stress, that is, emotional stress ,and diabetes, has been recently explained by a study conducted at Rice University. (1) The research revealed a metabolic chain reaction that begins with low inhibition, that is, attention control, an executive function of the brain. The subjects who had difficulty with attention control, had increased vulnerability to more distraction in information, objects, thoughts or activities leading to increased anxiety. The increased anxiety activated the metabolic pathway responsible for activation of the pro-inflammatory cytokines including interleukin- 6 (IL-6). IL-6 is a biomarker for stress that is associated with high glucose.
The Rice Univ. study lays the groundwork for investigation into the nature of anxiety, rumination on thoughts, their relationship to inflammation and how stress manifests as a disease process unique to each individual.
An interesting lifestyle perspective from a homeopathic viewpoint is identifying the actual state that the person who is experiencing the stress dwells in. For example, diabetes, type 2 in this case, is a condition of starvation in the midst of plenty, where the glucose piles up in the bloodstream and spills over into the urine, yet, the individual cells are starved of glucose. More and more demand is placed upon the pancreas to secrete insulin to meet the needs of the increasing glucose but, alas, it is never enough. A maladaptation response goes into effect, insulin resistance and inflammation ensue.
What is the emotional state of the person who is expressing this symptom? What are they anxious about? What is the exact stress or stressors that challenge their ability to handle attention control, reasoning, problem solving without the distractions and subsequent anxiety leading them down the primrose metabolic path to diabetes?
In clinical practice for over 36 years, I have found one commonality in people with Type 2 diabetes. They suffer from grief. Specifically silent grief. The nexus of the suffering in these people is loss. The stress of the loss has varied causations, among them are: business failure; loss of position/job; loss of friendship; financial loss; emotional shocks such as the loss of home and property experienced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in my community of Rockaway. More than several people developed diabetes in these 4 years since the storm. “Losing the sweetness in life” was the way in which one person described his descent into the feelings of loss.
Prolonged and unresolved feelings cause chronic inflammation. According the to Rice study, low inhibition begins the cycle. Individuals who are unable to gain mastery over their feelings are the susceptible ones. In homeopathic literature, this is called diabetes of nervous origin. When people suffering with diabetes are queried as to the causation of their emotional stress, they may name an actual event. When asked how they feel about it, a common response is: “abandoned, deprived” or elements thereof. When asked how they have handled it, they are generally indifferent and appear apathetic or insensitive. In fact, one of the features of a useful homeopathic remedy in diabetes is its “insensitivity” to the action of insulin. The insensitivity of the person to the stressful event is a maladaptation. In fact, they suffer the ailments of grief, sorrow and care, but cannot cry. They hold it all inside. They dwell on past disagreeable occurrences and brood over unpleasant things.
Kyle Murdock, lead author on the Rice study said that researchers have suspected a link between anxiety and poor health, including diabetes, for many years. “The literature shows individuals with poor inhibition are more likely to experience stressful thoughts and have a harder time breaking their attention away from them,” Murdock said. “That made me wonder if there’s a stress-induced pathway that could link inhibition with inflammation and the diseases we’re interested in, such as diabetes.”
The allostatic stress response network of nervous, endocrine, immune and metabolic pathways is one model to consider. Within the larger network of the organism is assumed to be a hub that interacts with and adapts to any exogenous or endogenous stressor that disrupts homeostatic balance in the human organism . Trauma, PTSD, grief, loss , prolonged and unresolved, the resultant rumination and inflammation appear to be the obvious culprits to stimulate the stress-induced pathways for the emergence of disease.
I concur with the suggestions of the researchers on several of the possible interventions. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In my experience with diseases bearing emotional stress origin or imprint, the first intervention must be adaptive network nanomedicine. Dr. Iris Bell describes this intervention skillfully. ” As a low intensity stressor, remedy nanoparticles stimulate changes in the opposite direction to those of the higher intensity stressors that fostered the original development of disease. The disease-related maladaptations prime the system, then the correct remedy in low dose elicits reversal of direction of the maladapted responses.” (2)
In my clinical experience, the “disease related maladaptations” that prime the system cause the low inhibition. The selection of the appropriate nanomedicine reverses the maladaptation and restores flexibility in the brain’s executive functions. It is at this point that MBSR and CBT can work most efficiently to restore resilience and self regulation.
The person is now capable of making conscious choices in their lifestyle to reduce their risk factors for diabetes and change the course of the disease.
How inflammation bridges stress and diabetes. Psychoneuroendicrinology, June 7, 2016. Kyle Murdock. Rice University
Extending the Adaptive Network Nanomedicine Model for Homeopathic Medicines: Nanostructures as Salient Cell Danger Signals for Adaptation. Iris R. Bell, Gary E. Schwartz, Joyce Frye, Barbara Sarter and Leanna J. Standish. Nanoscience & Technology:Open Access . June 14, 2015.
Stress, inflammation, diabetes, adaptive network nanomedicine