According to one expert, diabetics should consider how complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) can affect their diabetes management, and seek aid from healthcare professionals to build them into their conventional treatment regime. CAM therapies have long been shown to be effective in stabilising blood sugar levels, although some herbs and supplements are more useful than others.
A PhD candidate at Griffith’s School of Nursing, Annie Chang, cautioned patients to be aware of side effects when using alternative medicine in conjunction with conventional medicine. She reportedly commented: “Fenugreek for example, used as a supplement, may affect blood sugar levels but patients are already on other blood sugar lowering medications as well. 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 continued: “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.”

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