Frequent stress and/or big stress responses might increase the odds of getting juvenile diabetes, accelerate the development of the diabetes, and, once it is established, cause major complications in this life shortening disease.
Robert M, Professor of Biology and Neuroscience, Stanford University & Author
The problem: difficulty managing with type 1 diabetes?
Usually affecting younger people, type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes stems from an immune system response that mistakenly identifies insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas as foreign invaders and attacks them.
This leads to a decreased ability to deliver insulin to target cells, which are crucial in the uptake of glucose and essential fatty acids. The cells starve, and our organs can no longer function correctly.
Without a proper home, the circulating glucose and fatty acids instead find themselves gumming up the kidneys, eyes and blood vessels, leading to kidney problems, blindness, atherosclerosis and chronic pain. They also bind to proteins and take them out of action too.
So we are left to manage the situation with insulin injections which we must get just right. Otherwise, the cells starve with too little, or the brain becomes deprived of energy if too much.
Stress aggravates this condition severely.
Firstly, the hormones that are released under the stress response cause a spike in glucose and fatty acid release further gumming up our essential organs and arteries.
Secondly, when we have been subject to the everyday stresses and demands of life, our body starts to change the insulin resistance of our fat cells so that they become even less sensitive to any remaining insulin.
These fat cells then send messengers to muscle and liver tissues to stop them responding as well. Before we know it, our over-active stress responsivity compromises the whole system.
When we are feeling relaxed, we can use diet and injections to keep us in a balanced range. But when stress comes along it completely disrupts the system, and then as it dies down again, we have to juggle everything further as different parts of the body cool down at different rates, making staying balanced an exhausting process.
So whether the stress is physical or psychological, it wreaks havoc with our metabolic control unless we have an effective way of managing our stress and preventing the intensity and frequency of stress reactions through meditation. Given that it largely affects younger people, living with type 1 diabetes can be extremely difficult.
But it needn’t be that way.
Vedic meditation as a treatment for type 1 diabetes
Vedic meditation offers us a relaxing and enjoyable way to affect considerable improvements in the frequency and intensity of our stress response. As a result, that response is proportional to a given stimulus rather than the over-reactive impulse we are all prone to.
It can do this by pacifying the fight-or-flight branch of the nervous system and ensuring that the part of the brain called the amygdala, which drives the stress response, starts reacting in a less hyperactive manner.
Vedic meditation provides such a deep level of rest to the nervous system that it is better protected from the damage so often seen in patients with type 1 diabetes.
This practice is also very effective in protecting against the cardiovascular diseases that are also much more prevalent amongst those with the condition.
Finally, this practice also reduces the number of active oxygen radicals that might threaten the beta cells. Not only are these free radicals involved in the cause of diabetes, they are also considered to play a significant role in some of the complications seen in long-term diabetics. Meditation acts not just as an effective treatment for type 1 diabetes, but as a refresher for the whole body.