Alternative medicines need to be considered in diabetes management

July 04, 2007

People with diabetes are risking their health by not discussing their use of complementary and alternative therapies with the health professionals managing their conventional treatment.

A review of the international health literature has shown nutritional supplements and herbal medicines are the most commonly used complementary and alternative therapies in diabetes.

Annie Chang, a PhD candidate in Griffith's School of Nursing, said while some products may have benefits for patients, they can also have side effects in their own right or interact with conventional medications.

"Fenugreek for example, used as a supplement, may affect blood sugar levels but patients are already on other blood sugar lowering medications as well."

While the prevalence of use varies widely between different countries (17-72%), her review suggests nearly half of people living with diabetes supplement their conventional medicines with some form of alternative therapy.

Women, over 65-year-olds, those who had been living with diabetes for longer, and people interested in self management of their condition were the most likely to use alternative therapies.

"People will tell their alternative practitioners that they are using Western medicines but the vast majority will not discuss their alternative therapies with a doctor or other healthcare professional," she said.

Ms Chang, who has also surveyed more than 300 diabetics in Taiwan, said people feared their doctor would not be interested in discussing alternative medicines or that they might 'get into trouble' for taking them.

"The evidence is that patients are using these products and may even reduce their conventional medicine doses and modify the timing of doses so they aren't taking both together."

"While it might be impossible for Western medicine to learn all about complementary and alternative therapies, healthcare professionals do need to be included in discussions about them so we can document their use and be aware of any potential problems for our patients."
-end-
The review was published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing 2007; 58(4) 307-319.

National Diabetes Week is 8-14 July.

Research Australia

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.