Empowering patients: The osteopathic approach to type 2 diabetes

When treating patients with type 2 diabetes, deploy compassion, collaboration and touch, DOs suggest.

The DO
By Laura Selby
Thursday, August 20, 2015

The incidence of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. is rising steadily, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that two in five Americans will develop the disease in their lifetime. Two osteopathic family physicians share the strategies they use to help patients manage this difficult diagnosis.

‘A whole-body disease’

“Diabetes is a whole-body disease. It illustrates the osteopathic philosophy that the body is a unit—it’s very unusual to see a diabetes patient who doesn’t have any other diagnoses,” explains Randy Shuck, DO, the director of medical education at St. Petersburg (Florida) General Hospital. Indeed, type 2 diabetes has a long list of potential complications, including poor circulation, heart disease, gum disease, vision problems, mental health issues and infected sores on the feet.

Musculoskeletal ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome, frozen shoulder and degenerative joint disease are also a risk for type 2 diabetes patients, notes Jay Shubrook, DO, a professor at the Touro University California, College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo. Dr. Shubrook and Dr. Shuck have both used osteopathic manipulative treatment to treat diabetes patients with musculoskeletal complaints, though they say more research is needed in this area.

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