Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic condition affecting a big portion of the world population. According to the CDC (2014), a total of 29.1 million people in the United States are living with diabetes. This translates to about 9.3% of the population. Out of these, 21 million are diagnosed, with the other 8.1 million with undiagnosed diabetes mellitus.
Diabetic patients go through significant psychological pain during the management of their condition. The fact that diabetes is a life-long condition makes most patients feel depressed after the diagnosis is made. Diabetic patients also face isolation since they are required to eat a low starch diet, which is different from the rest of the population. Such patients also face difficulties during administration, especially those dependent on insulin whereby the need to inject themselves or have a close relative inject them with insulin daily.
Healthy coping can be achieved in diabetic patients. This starts with acceptance of the condition. The patient must understand that the condition is chronic and that they need to be fully involved in management. The patient should therefore not allow feelings of grief over the diagnosis hinder them from self-care activities and lifestyle changes that would help them in the management of the condition (Kent et al., 2010). The family members and caregivers of diabetic patients should also be involved in the management process and be educated so that they can better understand the patient’s needs hence reducing the feelings of isolation in the patient.
Prevention of diabetes can be achieved by proper diet, regular exercise and maintenance of good health and adequate body weight. Obesity is a key factor that contributes to insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes hence living a healthy life, free from obesity will greatly reduce a person’s chances of acquiring the condition.
Diabetes mellitus does not have a definite cure. The current drugs available only control the blood glucose levels, hence reducing the effects of high glucose in the body. However, scientists have not yet developed a drug that reverses the process of insulin resistance in the body. The Korean Red Ginseng, scientifically known as Panax Ginseng is a plant that is widely used in Korea and has shown great potential in the management of diabetes. Although it has not been incorporated into conventional medicine, scientists have come up with several studies to demonstrate the efficacy of ginseng extract in diabetes control.
A clinical study that was done by Vuksan et al., (2008) showed that patients who were given 12 weeks supplementation with the Korean Red Ginseng achieved good control of their blood glucose and improved blood insulin levels safely and well above the levels achieved in patients with well-controlled blood glucose using standard therapy.
A study done by Hong, Ji & Kang, (2013) to determine the efficacy of Panax Ginseng in the management of type1 and type 2 diabetes showed that the red ginseng extract could reduce hearing loss caused by diabetes in mice. This effect was shown to be more potent in mice with type 2 (insulin-dependent) diabetes than those with type 1 diabetes.
Analysis of several studies conducted on animals and clinical trials conducted on humans on the effects of Panax Ginseng on diabetes control was done by Yuan et al., (2014). They concluded that much as the plant had shown some efficacy in glucose control, for ginseng to be used as a dietary supplement for diabetes mellitus, it requires standardisation, further detailed studies at the molecular level as well as large-scale clinical trials. The active ingredient within the plant also needs to be identified and extracted so as to develop a potent drug for diabetic control.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). National diabetes statistics report: estimates of diabetes and its burden in the United States, 2014. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, 2014.
Hong, B. N., Ji, M. G., & Kang, T. H. (2013). The efficacy of red ginseng in type 1 and type 2 diabetes in animals. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.
Kent, D., Haas, L., Randal, D., Lin, E., Thorpe, C. T., Boren, S. A., … & Ruggiero, L. (2010). Healthy coping: issues and implications in diabetes education and care. Population health management, 13(5), 227-233.
Vuksan, V., Sung, M. K., Sievenpiper, J. L., Stavro, P. M., Jenkins, A. L., Di Buono, M., … & Choi, M. (2008). Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) improves glucose and insulin regulation in well-controlled, type 2 diabetes: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of efficacy and safety. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 18(1), 46-56.
Yuan, H. D., Kim, J. T., Kim, S. H., & Chung, S. H. (2012). Ginseng and diabetes: the evidences from in vitro, animal and human studies. J Ginseng Res, 36(1), 27-39.