When stress occurs, whatever the source, the hypothalamus signals the adrenals to release cortisol (and adrenaline). These hormones are life-saving in true “fight or flight” situations like running away from a charging animal or hoisting a car off a small child, but they cause big problems when they are regularly produced in excess. Excess cortisol can contribute to hormone imbalance in the body since the body uses hormones like progesterone to manufacture cortisol. Excess cortisol absent of a charging animal can also interfere with the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, reduce fat burning ability, raise insulin, suppress thyroid function and cause gain in belly fat.
It’s the patients with type 2 diabetes that lean towards supplements. While lifestyle modifications (exercise, weight loss, and smoking cessation) are the foundation for managing diabetes, drug treatment is usually also required. There are an array of prescription drugs like metformin and glyburide with a long history of use and demonstrated efficacy. Some drugs even decrease mortality – the primary outcome we’re after. But proper treatment has also been shown to the reduce the risk of an array of other consequences: Diabetes is the biggest cause of blindness, kidney failure and non-traumatic amputation. Diabetes is associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, too. Yet despite the irreversible consequences of diabetes, and the availability of effective medications, type 2 diabetes remains poorly-controlled in many, often because of poor self-management.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
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