When we eat, food mostly breaks down into blood sugar or glucose, which is used as cell fuel. To get glucose into the cells, we need insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood.
In a healthy body, all these processes happen automatically, while with diabetics, blood glucose levels are too high because the pancreas is not producing (enough) insulin to manage the glucose levels. The accumulation of blood sugar can lead to complications, so diabetes can cause serious difficulties for the patients as well as their loved ones.
Types of diabetes
There are several types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and others. The most common form is type 2 diabetes, which occurs in as many as 90% of diabetic patients.
The main difference between types 1 and 2 is in the amount of insulin produced. In type 2 diabetes, the body cannot produce enough insulin or cannot use it effectively, whereas with type 1 diabetes, insulin is no longer produced at all.
Therefore, with type 1 diabetes, the patient’s problems are much more pronounced and require immediate medical attention, while with type 2 diabetes, the amount of blood sugar slowly rises, making it a much more manageable condition.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that most often occurs at a young age or during adolescence. Since the body is not only capable of producing insulin by itself, the patient has to use insulin injections for the rest of their life.
For treating type 2 diabetes, a specific diet and antidiabetic tablets are often enough to manage the condition along with paying attention to other related conditions that may present themselves at the same time. Most often, accompanying conditions involve high levels of fat in the blood, increased blood pressure or excess weight.
However, with age, blood glucose levels may increase significantly, which requires the use of insulin injections as well. It is therefore very important that type 2 diabetes is detected as soon as possible to avoid more aggressive treatments if the condition progresses undetected.
The third, less common type of diabetes is the so-called gestational transient hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels). It is a type 2 diabetes, caused by hormonal stress and usually disappears by giving birth, however, hyperglycemia may recur several times after the age of 40.
Symptoms of diabetes
Diabetes, especially type 2, can be a very insidious disease, as its symptoms can remain hidden for a long time. Many patients don’t even know they have diabetes until the onset of serious complications. Type 2 diabetes can thus only be detected through screening tests and it is every individual’s job to attend them regularly.
The most common symptoms of diabetes include constant thirst, increased or decreased body weight and frequent urination, along with other, less common symptoms that may indicate diabetes as well:
Gum inflammation or paradentosis
Sudden skin discoloration
Hearing and vision problems
Fatigue and frequent afternoon naps
Lack of concentration
Tingling in palms or feet
Possible complications of diabetes
Diabetes can lead to severe complications, which is why starting treatment as soon as possible is crucial for managing the condition. With time, small veins can get damaged, which in turn affects kidney and nervous system function, causes vision problems, and reduces blood flow to the brain, legs and the heart.
In extreme cases, lowered blood supply to the legs may result in leg tissue necrosis, which can lead to amputation of part of the leg. In drastic cases, diabetes can cause stroke and heart attack.
Diabetes is also one of the most common causes for blindness and kidney failure, and it also contributes greatly to cardiovascular disease.
The good news is that many complications can be prevented by managing the condition correctly from the onset.
This includes regular testing to check blood pressure, cholesterol, eyesight, kidney function, leg blood supply and cardiovascular disease.
If any of these complications are detected at an early stage, appropriate treatment can prevent the development into more severe forms.
Can diabetes be prevented?
Although the functioning of the pancreas, responsible for insulin production, cannot be directly affected, we can do some preventive actions to reduce the chances of developing diabetes. This particularly includes managing our weight, improving our nutritional habits and maintaining regular exercise.
Stress is also one of the more common agents for the onset of diabetes, so it is extremely important that we take full care of our body and mind.
Diabetes treatments vary depending on the type of disease. Type 1 diabetes requires insulin injection therapy, where the patient has to use insulin injections for the rest of their life since the onset.
With type 2 diabetes, however, treatment depends on when the disease is detected. If it is detected at an early stage, it is often sufficient to adjust the diet, exercise regularly and control your body weight. As the disease progresses, treatments need to be adapted accordingly.
This may include taking antidiabetic tablets and some type 2 patients should also be treated with insulin at a later stage.
Diet in diabetic patients and the problem of obesity
High-fibre foods: fresh seasonal vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans, chickpeas, broad bean, lentils) and berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
Low fat foods: foods containing vegetable fat (olive and rapeseed oil, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts, etc.) pose a lower threat for diabetics, while animal fats should be strictly avoided.
Slowly digested foods: different types of porridge (millet, buckwheat, French barley), wholegrain cakes and bread, various cereals, potatoes, pasta, brown rice, etc.
At the same time, diabetics should of course avoid fatty foods, alcohol and foods that contain a lot of sugar.
However, it is not only what we eat, but also the amount of food as well as the number and time of meals that matters. It is recommended to consume several small meals daily (about 4 – 6) at more or less the same time as this prevents blood glucose levels to fall.
Diet is therefore extremely important in patients with diabetes not only because it helps with controlling the amount of blood sugar, but also because it helps manage your body weight. As many as 80-90% of patients with diabetes also have the so-called metabolic syndrome in addition to diabetes which is manifested in elevated blood fat levels, increased blood pressure and excess weight.
The problem with obesity is that abdominal fat increases tissue resistance to insulin. It also promotes inflammation and affects blood clotting. In metabolic syndrome, however, fat is not only loaded in the abdominal cavity, but also in the intestine, liver and pancreas.
Therefore, a balanced diet and a lot of exercise are all the more important for diabetics.
How can CBD help diabetics?
In diabetes, CBD has proven to be an effective natural substance with a variety of beneficial effects. First and foremost, CBD has extremely pronounced anti-inflammatory effects, which is why it helps relieve all symptoms of inflammation in diabetics.
In many patients, CBD has been shown to have contributed to a reduced insulin intake and reduced insulin resistance, which is the main cause of various types of inflammation.
Cannabis is also supposed to help stabilize blood sugar while opening blood vessels, improving circulation, helping correct increased blood pressure and reducing cholesterol.
Some studies have even shown that CBD helps alleviate symptoms such as diabetic neuropathy (nervous system impairment) and visual impairment.
Diabetic neuropathy most often affects the arms and legs, but its symptoms can spread to any organ. The most common symptoms of nervous system failure are numbness, tingling and pain, and CBD has been shown to successfully relieve these symptoms.
What dose of CBD is recommended for diabetics?
In more manageable forms of diabetes, using 5% CBD drops 2x a day is sufficient. Studies show that regular CBD users have lower fasting insulin levels than non-users. However, we must, of course, understand and bear in mind that CBD cannot fully replace traditional forms of diabetes treatment.
It is therefore important that diabetic patients follow their doctor’s instructions and add CBD to their diet as one of possible alternatives that can successfully help improve diabetes symptoms.