DELETE-Comparative Differences Between Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine in Treating Type Two Diabetes Mellitus

Neley Morales


In the United States alone, there were 25.8 million people suffering from diabetes in 2010. The prevalence of diabetes is expected to markedly increase worldwide over the next 30 years, an estimated 2.8% in 2000 and 4.4% in 2030. For individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), treatment is essential to control adverse effects such as hypertension and diabetic neuropathy. The focus of this study is to examine various approaches to maintain and improve the lifestyle of individuals suffering from T2DM. A comparative approach has been used to evaluate the differences in the treatment of T2DM with the use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medicine. In Western society, pharmaceuticals are commonly used as a treatment method to manage hyperglycemia, along with life-style modifications. Furthermore, TCM views the human body and its functioning in a holistic way, stating that no single body part or symptom can be understood apart from its relation to a whole. Herbal medications and other treatments in TCM are targeted to treat underlying medical complaints that resulted in symptoms, instead of treating one specific manifestation. Data collection has been gathered through Qualitative over the phone interviews with patients suffering from T2DM, as well as TCM physicians. Interviews were conducted on patients that were diagnosed with T2DM (fasting plasma glucose levels of 126 or greater and HbAlc levels [greater than] 8%), and had continued treatment longer than three months prior to interviews. Collection of chart notes containing glucose levels, levels of pain, lifestyle changes, and vital signs were also used. A total of 21 patients from a family practice were interviewed, answering 23 constructed questions based on treatment of choice (TCM or western) and their personal input on treatment satisfaction. Patients varied in age, ethnicities, and gender, ranging from 39-70 years of age. Two traditional Chinese medicine physicians were also interviewed. Interviews with TCM physicians elaborated on course of treatment and steps taken to diagnose T2DM. Furthermore, prescription medications were also charted and documented to further analyze with secondary data. Upon completing the interviews, the data stated 21 patients (total population questioned) had not experienced alternative medicine and were exposed only to western medicine as treatment. A major concern for most patients were the pharmaceutical side effects, and 85.1% of patients stated they would be interested in an alternative treatment. Due to insufficient sources and knowledge on TCM treatment, 14.2% of patients stated they were satisfied with their western medicine treatment of choice and would not change treatment. The research's objective was to evaluate the differences in treatment of T2DM. Data collected supported the objective and showed the lack of sources to alternative treatments aside from western medicine. The researcher informed and educated interviewees about literature review on traditional Chinese medicine about alternative treatments available to treat T2DM.