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CAM therapy in the management of cancer
During cancer treatment, herbal medicine has been commonly used to promote physical reconditioning and reduce the adverse effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy and thus enhance the quality of life (Shankar et al., 2021). Nowadays, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is very common among cancer patients. For example, herbal medicines are the most used group of CAM treatments. Cancer patients choose these alternatives because it is believed to be safe, cause fewer side effects, and be less likely to cause dependency (Shankar et al., 2021). One example of herbal medicine is rikkunshito which helps to improve nausea, appetite loss, and cachexia associated with cancer.
Another therapy used in cancer treatment is acupuncture therapy. Many studies have used it to mitigate the symptoms of cachexia and other cancer-related symptoms, where reproducible points may benefit some patients with gastrointestinal cancer cachexia normalizing metabolic dysregulation (Shankar et al., 2021). Furthermore, CAM therapies are growing, and many health care organizations have incorporated them into their curriculum. So, in my personal opinion, I enjoy the fact that we are discovering the use of CAM therapies to complement the treatment of cancer patients. It is necessary to have more knowledge about CAM therapies and the possibility of developing side effects of it and understand the benefits that cancer patients could take from using them.
CAM therapy in the management of diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus is a common metabolic health problem. Studies have reported that 80% of people in developing countries depend on traditional medicines as the primary remedy for various ailments (Kasole et al., 2019). A study in Tanzania analyzed patients with diabetes mellitus and the use of traditional medicine and its role in the management of the disease; they found that the participants had several different beliefs regarding the causes and treatments of diabetes (Kasole et al., 2019). Some of these beliefs were that diabetes occurs due to a high-carbohydrate diet, and some other participants believed that the cause of diabetes was sugar.
Some of these misconceptions have created the idea of removing carbohydrates from their consumption. However, carbohydrates are necessary as a significant energy source for the body cells and brain (Kasole et al., 2019). Furthermore, it is necessary to differentiate the source of the carbohydrates to include in the diet. For instance, if they overeat fructose and glucose, it increases the lipid deposition in the liver and muscles and reduces insulin sensitivity. In this study, they also found that participants believed traditional medicines could be used to treat diabetes; some of the most used traditional medicines were moringa seeds and leaves, soursop leaves, and avocado sees. (Kasole et al., 2019)
The safety of traditional medicines seems to be a big concern among global health authorities because of their use by unlicensed practitioners and self-medication.
In this particular case, I would say that in the same way traditional medicines can have potential benefits, it is also necessary to understand that there could be potential adverse effects. Nowadays, there is limited knowledge of the physiological effects of traditional medicines used in diabetes, so it is not possible to determine at this time if these traditional medicines are beneficial or harmful for the management of diabetes.
CAM therapy in the management of hypertension
Hypertension is one of the significant causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Over the last twenty years, there has been an increase in CAM therapies in the management of hypertension (Wong et al., 2018).Some of these therapies have shown positive clinical effects and results in managing the disease.
One of the traditional medicines used for managing heart disease and hypertension is coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone), which, according to research and studies, can lower blood pressure because it works as antioxidant acting directly on the vascular endothelium for vasodilation (Wong et al., 2018). Some observational studies concluded that coenzyme Q10 supplementation significantly lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Some other CAM therapies have been used, such as melatonin, meditation, yoga, vitamin c, L-arginine, and inorganic nitrate. According to research, they have the potential to reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. Based on this information, I would want to say that I would not have a significant conflict if a patient decides to practice one of these methods as a complementary way of helping with their blood pressure. However, I would always check for possible interactions between medications and possible side effects and tell my patients to inform me of any abnormal symptoms they might have while starting these therapies.
Kasole, R., Martin, H. D., & Kimiywe, J. (2019). Traditional medicine and its role in the management of diabetes mellitus: “patients’ and herbalists’ perspectives”. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2019, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019
Shankar, A., Saini, D., Roy, S., Bharati, S. J., Mishra, S., & Singh, P. (2021). Role of complementary and alternative medicine in the management of cancer cachexia. Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing, 8(5), 539–546. https://doi.org/10.4103/apjon.apjon- 2149
Wong, A. P., Kassab, Y. W., Mohamed, A. L., & Qader, A. M. (2018). Beyond conventional therapies: Complementary and alternative medicine in the management of hypertension: An evidence-based review. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 31(1),