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Type II Diabetes Isn’t A Disease By Dr. Malcolm Kendrick
Tuesday, January 26, 2010 1:14 pm Email this article
That’s because it’s merely a blood sugar measurement. A sign. An effect. Not a disease, or a cause. We have become mesmerized by blood sugar levels — we fight to get them down — we are happy when the level is lowered. Doctors claim when the blood sugar level falls below an arbitrary figure that the Type II Diabetes has been treated, even cured. But what exactly have we cured?
(This article was written by Malcolm Kendrick, MD, author of the wonderful, eye-opening, paradigm-shifting book The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It .) What Is A Disease
What is a disease. Some definitions.
What is a disease? Here are a few definitions, culled from three dictionaries:
- a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning
- illness of people, animals, plants, etc., caused by infection or a failure of health rather than by an accident
- unhealthy condition of organism or part of organism. 2 (specific) disorder or illness.
Okay, so that counts as pretty unhelpful. A disease is: an illness, an unhealthy condition, a failure of health, an impairment of normal functioning. I can sense a circular discussion arriving.
What Is A Disease? Where Is It?
The concept of disease is horribly difficult to get a handle on
There was a time when I thought I knew what a disease was. Then I started thinking about it, and realized that the concept of disease is horribly difficult to get a handle on. Superficially, it seems relatively simple to define disease, and this is probably most true when it comes to an infectious ‘disease’. For here we have an agent, and a set of symptoms and signs caused by that infection. But even in the case of an infection, what is the disease? Where is it?
If you get infected with the tuberculin bacillus you may develop TB. But TB can affect the lungs, the gut, the lymph nodes, bone. The infective agent is the same in each case, but the disease state can vary enormously. Having TB in the lungs can lead to coughing up blood, breathlessness — death. TB in the gut can just sit there dormant, unnoticed. Is TB, therefore, always the same disease, or several different diseases caused by the same agent?
Extending this thought slightly, if we couldn’t find the infective agent in TB, would we think that lesions in the gut were the same disease as lesions in the lungs? I suspect not. We would call TB in the lungs, consumption, and TB in the guts, bowel nodularity — or something of the sort.
Hypertension is Considered A Disease
Hypertension is considered a disease, but there must be a deeper problem
What becomes clearer, when you start thinking about things more deeply, is that, in general, the process of defining disease starts when doctors find an abnormality. At this point they usually define the abnormality as the disease, unless, or until, they find a deeper underlying cause for that abnormality. Thus high blood pressure of unknown cause becomes essential hypertension, and hypertension is considered by most doctors to be a disease. Even though there must be a deeper problem that causes the blood pressure to be high in the first place.
A Set of Signs and Symptoms Often Call A Disease
Interconnected abnormalities clustered together often call a disease
Equally, if you find a number of interconnected abnormalities clustered together, these are quite often named as a disease after the doctor who first noticed the connections, for example: Parkinson’s disease, Addison’s disease, Graves disease, Cushing’s disease, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Fallot’s tetralogy, etc.
None of these doctors had the faintest idea what the underlying cause might be. They just said that they had seen patients with this set of abnormalities. I hereby name this set of symptoms and signs… Kendrick’s’ disease. Well, it has a ring to it. The most recent example I know of is Gerry Reaven of Stanford University who noticed a number of interconnected metabolic abnormalities in patients at high risk of CHD. This was called Reaven’s syndrome. A syndrome, not a disease — discuss.
Definition of a Disease is Totally Arbitrary
The definition of a disease is totally arbitrary
So you might ask where has all this has got us.The point I am trying to make here is that our definition of a disease is actually totally arbitrary. I am sure that almost everyone believes that they know what a disease is, and what it is not. But when you try to get a grip on it, you will find the concept slips away like mercury.
Does it matter at all? Is this not just playing with words, asking ‘how many Angels can dance on the head of a pin?’ Actually it does matter, rather a lot. Primarily when we try to treat diseases when we do not know, or haven’t bothered to define, what it is that we are really trying to treat — symptom or disease; cause or effect. Which, in a roundabout way, is how we get back to diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
What is diabetes? Most are certain it is a disease.
Everyone I speak to is certain that diabetes is a disease. But what is diabetes? The Greek root of “diabetes” means “siphon,” and the Latin root, “mellitus,” means “honey,” referring to the copious voiding of sweet-tasting urine by the diabetes sufferer. From the first century a.d. onward, other emotional descriptions of this killer disease included “sugar sickness,” “pissing evile,” and “melting down of flesh and limbs into urine.”
Actually, that almost certainly wasn’t type II diabetes they were talking about. These were descriptions of type I diabetes. What’s the difference? Type I diabetes happens when the insulin producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed by an auto-immune process — of unknown origin. With no insulin, the blood sugar rockets up and sugar starts to leak into the urine. Amongst other things.
Type II diabetes is primarily caused by resistance to the effects of insulin, or insulin resistance. Usually, there is enough insulin kicking around, but it doesn’t work so well, so the blood sugar level rises. The different types of diabetes have gone through a number of different naming protocols. Type I used to be called juvenile diabetes, as it tended to start at an early age. Type II was called adult diabetes, for obvious reasons.
Type I and type II diabetes have also been designated insulin dependent and non insulin dependent, and type A and type B. There is another terminology kicking around called Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults (LADA), which describes adults who end up with auto-immune destruction of insulin producing cells. There is even another type of diabetes entirely, called diabetes insipidus. And computer people think it’s difficult to keep up with the speed of change — pah!
In this discussion, however, something is already happening that you won’t even have noticed. Something critical. Something that you could stare at for the rest of your life and never even realize that there was anything wrong at all.
What is Diabetes? High Blood Sugar Levels? Or the Underlying Cause?
Is diabetes the high blood sugar levels or passing sugar in the urine or the underlying cause?
An underlying assumption is now forming in your mind, actually it has already formed, and it is this. Diabetes is a disease where the blood sugar level rises too high. (I am restricting the discussion here to type II diabetes by the way). Of course that is true. Diabetes is a disease where the blood sugar level rises too high. But what is the disease? The high blood sugar level? Or the underlying problem that causes the sugar to get high in the first place.
Tracking backwards in time for a moment. When all that doctors were able to see was the passing of ‘too much sweet sugar in the urine,’ diabetes was called diabetes mellitus ‘passing too much sugary urine.’ We know that passing too much sugar in the urine was a symptom, not a disease, yet we got stuck with a name that merely described a symptom. We’ve still got it.
Next, it was discovered that in diabetes, the sugar level in the blood was also very high. So diabetes came to mean a high blood sugar level. It still does. When Banting Best and Mcleod isolated insulin from the pancreas of cows and injected it into people with type I diabetes, their blood sugar level went down, and they recovered. Until the insulin ran out, of course.
But it was never the high blood sugar levels that killed a type I diabetic patient. In diabetes, you die because insulin is required to switch on the production of sugar receptors from within cells all around the body - other than in the brain. With no insulin, no sugar receptors are produced, and no sugar can be absorbed from the blood.
With no sugar to use for energy, the cells start to metabolise fat, and protein. One of the residues of fat and protein metabolism are ketone bodies, and these are acidic. After a while this ‘acidity’ cannot be compensated for, the diabetic falls into an acidic coma and dies.
Insulin Treats Type 1 Diabetes, but NOT by Lowering Blood Sugar Levels
Insulin works because it allows cells to absorb and metabolize sugar, NOT because it lowers blood sugar levels
So when Banting and Best gave patients insulin they weren’t saving life because they lowered blood sugar levels, even though they thought they were. By giving insulin they were allowing cells to manufacture sugar receptors, absorb and metabolise sugar and clear out the acidity from the blood. The ‘disease’ they were treating was not a high blood sugar level — it was a lack of insulin.
But because the disease, in diabetes, was a raised blood sugar level, it was just assumed that it was the lowering of the sugar that was critically important. And even though everyone now knows that type I diabetics die of diabetic ketoacidosis, the historical baggage that comes with diabetes has proven impossible to shift.
Lowering Blood Sugar Levels Is NOT Treating The Disease
Blood sugar levels are NOT a cause, but an effect, and thus lowering them is NOT treating the disease
So we still define diabetes, the disease, as a high blood sugar level. The current goal of treatment in type II diabetes is to lower the blood sugar level. But a raised blood sugar level is always a sign of an underlying ‘disease, whatever that disease may actually be. Can lowering a metabolic sign really prevent mortality and morbidity? Are we treating a disease when we lower blood sugar levels? No, we are not. We are lowering blood sugar levels which is an effect, not a cause.
Lowering Blood Sugar Levels May or May Not Provide Benefit
Some studies show tight blood sugar control INCREASES mortality
Does this mean that lowering blood sugar levels is a waste of time…. I didn’t say that, although the evidence that keeping blood sugar levels under control provides benefit (in type II diabetes) is proving somewhat elusive. In fact, some studies appear to show that tight blood sugar control may actually result in increased mortality. This would be surprising if we were actually treating a disease. But it is less surprising once you recognize that you are treating a metabolic sign.
Type 2 Diabetes is NOT a Disease
Lowering blood sugar levels doesn’t mean anything
I will try to finish where I started with the statement that type II diabetes is not a disease. It can’t be because type II diabetes is merely a blood sugar measurement. A sign, an effect. Not a disease, or a cause. We have become mesmerized by blood sugar levels — we fight to get them down — we are happy when the level is lowered. Doctors claim, when the blood sugar level falls below an arbitrary figure, that the type II diabetes has been treated, even cured. But what, exactly, have we cured? An annoyingly high figure on a piece of paper that comes back from the laboratory — or a disease?
Article Previous Published on THINCS.org
This article was previously published on THINCS.org
This article was previously published on THINCS.org (The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics).
I republished the article here with Dr. Kendrick’s permission.
Malcolm Kendrick’s Contact Info
Malcolm Kendrick, MD is the author of the wonderful, eye-opening, paradigm-shifting book book The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It .)
Articles on the same subject can be found here:
On Aug 08, 2011 at 2:46 pm Susan Richardson wrote:
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I have only just discoveed Dr Kendrick's articles and feel very relieved. This one is a breath of fresh air and commonsense. I am struggling to find the truth about high cholesterol levels (which I am told I have) and raised blood sugar levels (which I have slightly). I am almost having to argue with my doctor to keep off medication, and Dr Kendrick's articles are giving me the confidence when I have begun to wonder if it is not me just being stubbon. He is also making me laugh, and I do love his style! Have just ordered his book and can't wait to read it.
On Aug 08, 2011 at 3:21 pm Larry Hobbs wrote:
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I am a fan of Dr. Malcolm Kendrick.
He is different than most doctors in that he questions everything.
A couple of years ago, I sent an email to about 100 doctors to tell them a story of something that had happened to my mother in 2002.
My mother started having "choking episodes", as she described them, early in the morning day after day.
I felt sure the blood pressure drug she started on three weeks earlier -- Atacand (Candesartan), an angiotensin II receptor blocker -- was causing the problem, although I knew absolutely nothing about the drug, and had no idea how it could cause the problem.
Every day, all day long -- morning, noon and night -- for a week, all I did was read paper after paper after paper, trying to figure out how the drug was causing the problem.
And every day at 5 PM, would run over to Federal Express and send my father medical papers that I had highlighted, as well as a report summarizing and taking quotes from these papers providing more and more evidence that the drug was causing the problem.
My mother ended up in the hospital for 5 days where she was seen by a total of 10 doctors, including a pulmonary specialist.
She told every doctor, "My son thinks this drug is causing the problem? What do you think?" And would show them the papers and reports that I sent.
And yet, all 10 doctors told my mother, "No, this drug cannot possibly cause this problem. Keep taking it."
I thought it was insane.
Why not just stop the drug and see if the problem went away?
As simple as this seems, NONE of these doctors suggesting doing this. Amazing.
It took me a number of days to finally have my "Ah-Ha!" moment, where I had figured out exactly how the drug was causing the problem.
And yet, even when I sent the report describing exactly how the drug was causing the problem, the doctors continued to insist the drug could not possibly cause the problem, and told my mother to keep taking it.
Finally, my mother refused to take the drug any more, and the problem stopped.
Even at that point, the doctors still did not realize the drug was causing the problem.
At first my mother's doctor told my mother that the "choking episodes" were being caused by a panic attack.
Really? The doctor wanted me to believe that these "choking episodes" my mother had developed for the first time ever in her life at the age of 72 were being caused by a panic attack that she developed for the first time ever in her life just coincidentally 3 weeks after she had started on this new drug?
This diagnosis seemed ridiculous to me.
I thought it was about 100 times more likely that the drug was causing the problem.
It is simply the idea that "the new thing is causing the new thing."
Then the pulmonary specialist told my mother that she had developed mild congestive heart failure which was causing the problem.
Again, this diagnosis seemed ridiculous to me for the same reason mentioned above.
Then they told her it was being caused by a thyroid nodule, and had her go to an endocrinologist an hour a way for a year after this.
After my mother refused to take the drug and the problem stopped, my mother's doctor then told her that it was probably caused by a respiratory infection.
It was amazing to me that these 10 doctors were completely blind to the fact that the drug was causing the problem, even when I had sent the evidence showing exactly how the drug was causing the problem, and even after the problem stopped once my mother stopped taking the drug.
Anyway, when I sent an email to a list of doctors who I correspond with and told them this story, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick said that he has seen up to 50 cases of this that had gone unrecognized by other doctors that were caused by these types of drugs -- angiotensin II receptor blockers -- as well as ACE inhibitors. (These two types of drugs work side-by-side in the metabolic pathway, so they are closely related.)
Dr. Kendrick figured out that these drugs were causing this problem, whereas the 10 doctors who saw my mother, and my guess is that this would have been true of most doctors, were completely blind to this. (I think I know why this is, but will wait and explain this one day when I make a video to tell this story.)
Dr. Kendrick is working on another book about things we have been told that are wrong.
I don't know when it will be out, but I look forward to it.
As I said, I am a fan of Dr. Kendrick.
On Aug 09, 2011 at 2:01 am DPS wrote:
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This is a very informative posting.
Dr. Rosedale has also written on this topic. see DIABETES IS NOT A DISEASE OF BLOOD SUGAR
http://drrosedale.com/resources/pdf/Diabetes is NOT a disease of blood sugar.pdf
On Aug 09, 2011 at 2:15 am DPS wrote:
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I will try to paste the link one more time using quotation marks.
"http://drrosedale.com/resources/pdf/Diabetes is NOT a disease of blood sugar.pdf"
On Aug 09, 2011 at 1:07 pm Larry Hobbs wrote:
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Thanks for the link.
On Aug 09, 2011 at 1:58 pm Susan Richardson wrote:
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Larry, that story about your mother is really scary - how on earth can we ordinary mortals combat the medics when they are so sure they are right? You have to be pretty stubborn I think - it's a good job you were! Thanks for sharing your experiences, I feel more sure of being able to say 'hang on a minute doc...' now.
On Aug 09, 2011 at 2:36 pm Larry Hobbs wrote:
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The experience with my mother was baffling to me that the 10 doctors were so blind to even considering the possiblity that the drug was causing the problem.
The other thing that was baffling is that NONE of the doctors realized that all they had to do was stop the drug and see if the problem went away.
It was the simplest scientific experiment you could do, and it would proven very quickly whether or not the drug was causing the problem.
This type of thing -- problems caused by side effects of drugs -- has happened to my parents on about 15 occasions in the past 17 years, where their doctors have been unable to figure out what the problem is, but within a few days, I have figured out that the drug they have been given is causing the problem.
Most doctors seem to be blind to this.
I think this has to do with the way doctors are taught in medical school.
My guess is that they are presented dozens and dozens, or maybe even hundreds, of hypothetical situations where a patient comes to them and they have to figure out what it is.
This is very important because if you are having a heart attack, you want the doctor to be able to figure out what it is so that they can save your life.
However, based on this blindness of my parents' doctors to drug-induced side effects, my guess is that most medical schools, at least in the US, NEVER, EVER present hypothetical situations where a patient comes in with certain symptoms that are being caused by a drug-induced side effect.
My guess is that the reason for this is that medical schools figure that because there are hundreds and hundreds of drugs, and each drug has a couple dozen potential side effects, that they don't have enough time to give a scenario for each potential side effect of each drug.
But to me, it is COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY to do this with every side effect of every drug.
It purpose of doing this for medical students is NOT to try and teach them every side effect of every drug, but simply to make this part of their problem-solving routine, that is, so that they consider the possibility that the problem is due to a drug-induced side effect.
My guess is they also figure that since new drugs are coming out all the time, 10 years from now, much of what they would teach would not be as relevant.
My guess is also that medical schools probably figure that it's not that important to give them these scenarios because anyone can simply look up in a drug book and see if something is a side effect of a drug.
However, I think this is a HUGE mistake.
If they only spent just a COUPLE OF HOURS presenting medical students with a couple dozen hypothetical cases where the symptoms were being caused by a drug-induced side effect, that these students would remember this for the REST OF THEIR LIFE.
Since they DON'T seem to do this, I assume, then, just like with my mother and her choking episodes, the doctors do not even consider this to be a possibility.
They do NOT even consider it when they are trying to diagnose a patient.
The reason that I was SURE that the drug was causing the problem FROM THE MOMENT MY MOTHER TOLD ME ABOUT IT, is that I have had so many weird, odd and strange experiences taking silly little supplements for the past 29 years, that I would often think, "It can't possibly be this supplement causing this reaction."
However, for me, it is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS "the new thing causing the new thing".
I have learned to have a great deal of respect for this.
It is also so easy to figure out if something is causing the problem by simply stop taking the thing.
My suggestion is:
1. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS suspect any drug that a patient is taking first, especially if it is a drug that was recently added.
2. Adopt the attitude that "anything can cause anything".
3. If someone is having a problem, even if you think that the drug they are taking cannot possibly cause the problem, STOP THE STUPID DRUG AND SEE IF THE PROBLEM GOES AWAY! It is the simplest experiment you can possibly do and will tell you if the drug is likely to be causing the problem!
On Aug 10, 2011 at 2:01 am Susan Richardson wrote:
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Larry, yes I agree with you. Side effects of drugs aren't dealt with at all. In fact towards the end of their lives, my own parents ended up taking a huge assortment of drugs for various prblems, but some of them were to combat the side effects of the other medication they were taking! I don't think the doctors care enough - they just say, in effect'Ok you are experiencing this (side effect), so we'll just give you this (a new drug) to sort it out'. The new medication then produces another side effect, and so on and so forth...
Years ago, of course, you had a comfortable family doctor, who knew you and all your family (I am speaking from my own childhood in the uk), and he actually listened to what his patients were saying. I think the old fashioned family doc is what we are lacking these days and sadly, he will probably never come back - although Dr Kendrick sounds like one of them, and there do still seem to be others around like him, who question things. Hopefully some of the younger generation who are thinking of becoming doctors will discover their websites!
On Aug 10, 2011 at 8:01 am Larry Hobbs wrote:
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It is very sad when older people are given so many drugs, and when drug companies scare older people into taking all kinds of drugs that they don't need such as blood pressure drugs and cholesterol drugs and bone-building drugs.
The same thing has happened to my mother that you mentioned happened to your parents.
Over the past several years, her doctors have given her more and more drugs.
It is insane.
If anything, older people should be given FEWER drugs and LOWER DOSES, not more drugs and higher doses.
A recent story said that 85% of people in nursing homes are on anti-psychotic drugs. It is such a shame.
A hundred years from now they will look back and think, "How could doctors and patients alike have been so stupid to believe that taking all those drugs was good for them?"
Regarding one drug being given to combat the side effect of another drug...
If I remember correctly, on his radio program, Julian Whitaker, MD, who has a large clinic in Newport Beach, California where he practices mostly natural medicine, using very few drugs, was interviewing Earl Mindell, a pharmacist who wrote "The Vitamin Bible" and started a chain of vitamin stores.
Dr. Whitaker said he had seen a patient that was taking 23 drugs, and about half the drugs were being given to combat the side effects of other drugs.
Earl Mindell said he had seen a person who was taking even more drugs than this.
Dr. Whitaker said something like, "Can you imagine one human being sitting across from another human being and prescribing all of these drugs."
It is very unfortunate.
It is amazing that, at least in the US, that people have been brainwashed into believing that this could possibly be good for you or lead to better health.
Hopefully doctors and the public will open their eyes to the insanity of this sooner rather than later.
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