Lifestyle Disorders

Words: Dr Devanshi THAKUR & Dr/Prof Amar BODHI 

Lifestyle disorders are primarily based on the day-to-day habits of people. Of habits that distract people from activity and push them towards a sedentary routine, while triggering several health issues, including two major ‘headline grabbers,’ diabetes and high blood pressure — with near life-threatening consequences. 

Causes   

Modifiable Risk Factors 

  • Addictions. Alcohol, smoking, tobacco etc. Excessive intake of alcohol can increase the risk of diabetes by damaging the pancreas and liver, while promoting obesity. High alcohol intake is also associated with the increased risk of high blood pressure [hypertension]. It appears that alcohol consumption raises the systolic pressure [contraction of the heart] more than the diastolic pressure [relaxation of the heart]. The best thing to do is to quit alcohol and take control of one’s health
  • Physical inactivity. This may directly lead to obesity — a predisposing factor for hypertension. ‘Central obesity,’ which is increased waist to hip ratio, has been previously correlated with high blood pressure in several populations. Central obesity is, likewise, strongly related with type-2 diabetes.
  • Unhealthy diet and lifestyle
  • Excess stress.

 Non-Modifiable Risk Factors 

  • Although diabetes may occur at any age, surveys indicate that its prevalence rises steeply with age. Type-2 diabetes is usually detected in the middle years of life; it, thereafter, begins to rise in frequency. Blood pressure rises with age in both sexes and the rise is greater in individuals with higher initial blood pressure. Age may also represent environmental influences and/or genetically programmed senescence in bodily systems
  • Early in life there is little evidence of a difference in blood pressure between the sexes. However, during adolescence men may display a higher average level. This difference is most evident in young and middle-aged adults. While the difference narrows late in life, the pattern may sometimes be ‘reversed.’ Post-menopausal changes in women may be yet another contributory factor.
  • Family History. Studies have shown that children of two ‘normotensive’ parents have a 3 per cent possibility of developing hypertension, whereas the possibility is 45 per cent in children of two hypertensive parents
  • Race. Population studies have consistently revealed higher blood pressure levels in blacks than other ethnic groups.
  • Metabolic Risk Factors
  1. Raised blood pressure.
  2. Overweight/obesity
  3. Hyperglycaemia [high glucose levels]
  4. Hyperlipidaemia [elevated lipid levels].

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus [DM] refers to a group of common metabolic disorders having the phenotype of hyperglycaemia [high sugar levels]. It all depends upon the aetiology [cause] of DM — this may include reduced insulin secretion and glucose utilisation and/or increased glucose production.

Management 

The management of DM requires meticulous lifestyle and dietary modifications, e.g., maintaining healthy and nutritious diet, monitoring glycaemic control, engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate, or vigorous, intensity aerobic activity per week spread over at least 3-4 days.

Homeopathic Perspective

Homeopathy suggests that diabetes is a reflection of the body’s incapacity to function optimally. Or, as ‘imbalance’ that results in the body’s inability to efficiently utilise the insulin it produces, or does not produce it sufficiently for its needs.

Homeopathy stresses on the holistic management of diabetes rather than ‘cure,’ while helping to maintaining normal levels of insulin and/or keeping anti-diabetic drugs, at their minimum possible dosage, and in preventing progressive worsening and/or complications.

Your homeopathic physician may prescribe a suitable medicine, or remedy, only after considering the entire picture of your symptoms involving the general and peculiar factors, or your personality, sensibilities, sensitivities, as also idiosyncrasies, to ensuring safe and effective treatment.

Homeopathic remedies are prescribed after considering the totality of symptoms. This isn’t all — one also needs to understand the usage of a constitutional remedy. Constitution is defined as a person’s physical and mental make-up. This is revealed through one’s physicality, their characteristic desires, aversions, and reactions, as well as emotional and intellectual attributes. Your homeopath, following thorough case-taking, takes a ‘deep dive’ into every aspect of your individuality, or personality, which is as unique as your fingerprint, or signature.

Concept Of Disease

Disease, according to homeopathic tenets, is not a thing separate, or different, from the living organism. It is not hidden in the living organism.

When a homeopathic remedy is administered, it produces symptoms similar to the existing disease condition. The medicine, which is slightly stronger and similar, now acts on the ‘vital principle,’ or the resident healing force, or immune mechanism, and removes, or annihilates, the weaker, similar, or natural disease force already existing within the organism.

Homeopathic remedies that are useful in diabetes include Abroma augusta, Syzygium jambolanum, Gymnema sylvestre, Acetic acid, Thuja occidentalis and Phosphorus. They are best taken under the direction and supervision of a professional homeopathic physician — following thorough case analysis.

Diabetes: Clinical Studies

In one clinical study conducted in Athens, Greece, a group of patients with non-insulin dependent [type-2] diabetes was treated with a conventional oral anti-diabetic drug [Daonil 5mg] and placebo, or dummy pill [Group-1]. Another group was given the same oral anti-diabetic drug and homeopathy [Group-2]. At the end of nine months of parallel treatment, satisfactory regulation of diabetes was achieved in 97 per cent of patients in the combined homeopathic medicine and Daonil group, in comparison to only 47 per cent in the Daonil group.

In another study, researchers at the University of Verona, Italy, compared the effects of homeopathic therapy with conventional therapy for diabetic neuropathy. Over a 12-month period, one group of diabetics was treated with homeopathy and another group of diabetics was put on conventional drug therapy. They were assessed for clinical symptoms and quality of life [QoL] at baseline, six months and 12 months, following treatment. Improvement from baseline polyneuropathy symptoms was noted in both groups, but only those individuals treated homeopathically reached outcomes that were statistically significant. While both groups experienced improvement in blood pressure and body weight, as well as levels of fasting blood glucose and haemoglobin A1C [HbA1c], only those in the homeopathy group noted improvement in their quality of life [QoL] scores, over the period of the study. The study also noted that homeopathic treatment was more cost-effective than conventional treatment.

Hypertension

Hypertension [HT] may be defined as that level of blood pressure at which initiation of therapy reduces blood pressure-related morbidity and mortality.

Management 

Patient education on dietary changes, physical activity and medical adherence plays a significant role in managing hypertension. Comprehensive management reduces the risk of cardiovascular events, improving QoL and longevity. Healthy and nutritious diet are necessary for the management of hypertension.

DASH diet [Diet approaches to stop hypertension] refers to a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps to create a heart-healthy eating style for life. It involves consuming vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as also fat-free, or low-fat, dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils, while limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets. The daily calorie requirement is 2,000kcal/day.

Hypertension: Homeopathic Perspective

Homeopathic treatment is keyed to restore the body’s self-regulatory factors and normalise, or adjust, them through internal mechanisms, besides making the individual aware of any changes — so that they may take appropriate steps.

The mechanisms regulating the need to rest, or sleep, respiration, heart output, or rate, ought to function in a similar manner. Homeopathy is holistic therapy. It regulates and manages high blood pressure and/or heart disease, by streamlining our regulatory systems as a whole.

Homeopathy also works on the foundation of the individual’s overall personality; it educates individuals to physically and mentally relax. It advocates appropriate exercise and leisure patterns and behaviours. In so doing, it calms down the person’s inherent behaviour, which may sometimes be suppressed for a long time. This, in effect, may also be the likely trigger for high blood pressure and/or heart disease.

Homeopathic Remedies 

There are more than a handful of homeopathic remedies that are useful in the treatment of hypertension when given after building a complete portrait of the disease. To name a select few — Rauwolfia serpentina, Terminalia arjuna and Crataegus oxyacantha, among others.

Hypertension: Clinical Studies

A group of people suffering from mild-to-moderate hypertension were enrolled in a double-blind, randomised clinical study comparing individualised homeopathic therapy with placebo [dummy pill]. Successful results were obtained with 82 per cent of subjects using homeopathy, as compared with 57 per cent using placebo [dummy pill].

In another study, 665 patients suffering from mild cardiac insufficiency [inadequate blood flow to the heart muscles] were given Cralonin, a homeopathic combination product, containing the homeopathic Crataegus oxyacantha, Spigelia anthelmia, and Kalium carbonicum, or a combination of an ACE inhibitor and a diuretic, which is the ‘standard’ conventional medical treatment, prescribed for the condition. Both groups showed equally effective results.

The study also documented the symptoms for which Cralonin was prescribed as well as dosages and methods of administration. Approximately 50 per cent of the patients in this study took Cralonin as an adjuvant to standard conventional [allopathic] therapy with antihypertensives, or cardioactive drugs. The participating practitioners assessed patient tolerance of Cralonin as “excellent” or “good” in the great majority of cases. No side-effects were reported. The homeopathic therapeutic efficacy was rated “good” or “very good” in approximately 90 per cent of patients. The medication was also most effective and fast-acting in cases of functional cardiac symptoms and stabbing pain [cardiodynia].

Two Cases In Point

A 37-year-old man, a diagnosed case of essential hypertension —  high blood pressure that is multi-factorial with no one distinct cause. A majority of the presenting symptoms were common to the disease, yet sufficiently characteristic, or unique patient-centric, symptoms were elicited to enable the choice of the most appropriate homeopathic remedy [similimum]. The case aptly illustrates the role of individualised homeopathic treatment, along with lifestyle measures, to halt and/or ‘reverse’ the progression of essential hypertension.

A 37-year-old married man, having high blood pressure, reported with complaints of —

  • Heartburn for ten years
  • Fleshy outgrowths on the neck and arms for two years.
  • Pain in the heels since two months, among other symptoms.

The patient was prescribed Sulphur 200C initially, based on his presenting symptoms and homeopathic personality type, and after considering the change in his state he was prescribed Phosphorus 30C, along with Crataegus oxyacantha, mother tincture, ten drops in water, twice a day. The treatment was continued for six months — a considerable drop in blood pressure value was observed consistently.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies, or medicines, in treating lifestyle disorders, such as DM and HT, presents a perspicuous picture. Homeopathic treatment often encourages a comprehensive understanding and review within the given patient’s lifestyle. Agreed that treating such disorders is a tedious process, as they are associated with major lifetime complications. Yet, the fact is: managing such disorders with appropriate remedies and stringent lifestyle modifications, is a holistic possibility, thanks to homeopathy’s bespoke, or personalised, approach, treatment strategies — with minimal side-effects.

References 

  • Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine [20th Edition]
  • Boericke, W. Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica with Repertory
  • Lilienthal S. Homeopathic Therapeutics
  • Park K, Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine [26th Edition]
  • Hahnemann, S. Organon of Medicine, [Fifth & Sixth Edition]
  • Clinical Studies: Sourced from the ’Net.
Dr DEVANSHI THAKUR, BHMS, a passionate young homeopath and freelance writer, with two years of experience in holistic healthcare, is an alumna, with honours, from the prestigious Dr B R Sur Homeopathic Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, New Delhi, India. She has won several awards, including the Dr Malati Allen Homeo Noble Award 2023. She asserts that she is committed to continuing learning and staying updated with the latest advancements in homeopathic medicine. Dr AMAR BODHI, BHMS, MD [Hom], PhD, a distinguished homeopath, is currently a professor at Dr B R Sur Homeopathic Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, New Delhi, India. He’s been inspiring students as also helping advance homeopathic research for over two decades. A Certified External Assessor for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, for NQAS, since 2015, Dr Bodhi is also on the editorial panel of several peer-reviewed homeopathic journals. He’s been, during his illustrious career, recognised and bestowed with several prestigious awards, including the Certificate of Excellence of the Directorate of AYUSH, Government of NCT of Delhi too. Dr Bodhi’s contributions to homeopathy and education continue to make a profound impact, thanks to his unwavering dedication and resolute commitment.

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