Diabetes treatment facts
- Controlling blood sugar (glucose) levels is the major goal of diabetes treatment, in order to prevent complications of the disease.
- Type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin as well as dietary changes and exercise.
- Type 2 diabetes may be managed with non-insulin medications, insulin, weight reduction, or dietary changes.
- The choice of medications for type 2 diabetes is individualized, taking into account:
- the effectiveness and side effect profile of each medication,
- the patient's underlying health status,
- any medication compliance issues, and
- cost to the patient or health-care system.
- Medications for type 2 diabetes can work in different ways to reduce blood glucose levels. They may:
- increase insulin sensitivity,
- increase glucose excretion,
- decrease absorption of carbohydrates from the digestive tract, or
- work through other mechanisms.
- Medications for type 2 diabetes are often used in combination.
- Different methods of delivering insulin include:
- pre-filled pens, and
- the insulin pump.
- Proper nutrition is a part of any diabetes care plan. There is no one specific "diabetic diet" that is recommended for all individuals.
- Pancreas transplantation is an area of active study for the treatment of diabetes.
What is the treatment for diabetes?
The major goal in treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes is to control blood sugar (glucose) levels within the normal range, with minimal excursions to low or high levels.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is treated with:
- exercise, and a
- diabetic diet.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is treated:
- First with weight reduction, a diabetic diet, and exercise
- Oral medications are prescribed when these measures fail to control the elevated blood sugars of type 2 diabetes.
- If oral medications become ineffective treatment with insulin is initiated.
Adherence to a diabetic diet is a critical aspect of controlling blood sugar in people with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has provided guidelines for diabetic diets.
Each ADA diet is:
- nutritious, and
- low in fat, cholesterol, and simple sugars.
The total daily calories are evenly divided into three meals (with snacks for youth with type 1 diabetes). Over the past two years the ADA has lifted the absolute ban on simple sugars for people with diabetes. Small amounts of simple sugars are now allowed when consumed with a complex meal.
Weight reduction and exercise
Weight reduction and exercise are important treatments for type 2 diabetes. Weight reduction and exercise increase the body's sensitivity to insulin, thus helping to control blood sugar elevations.