Diabetes Treatment Options

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that results in the individual affected having a sensitivity to sugar. There are two types of diabetes, one of which is preventable, one of which is not. For both types of diabetes, symptoms can be limited by making a few lifestyle changes including eating a varied and healthy diet that includes a lot of protein, carbohydrate and vegetables but that excludes overly sugary, salty and fatty foods. Type I diabetes is treated with insulin, exercise and following a special diet. Type II diabetes is treated first with weight reduction, a diabetic diet and exercise. If these measures fail to bring the diabetes under control, insulin will be used to treat the patient.

Diabetes Diet

Proper nutrition is essential for all patients with diabetes. Although there is no set diet that patients must follow, there is a set of guidelines that should be adhered to in order to keep the blood sugar stable. This way of eating should be balanced with the intake of insulin and any other medication you may be taking so that spikes in blood sugar from food are not going to affect the medication or insulin that you’ve taken.

Most experts agree that diabetics should eat a variety of foods, including whole grains, fruit, non-fat or low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meat, vegetarian substitutes such as tofu, low fat poultry and oily fish. The general amount of calories that you should be taking in each day from carbohydrates stands at around 50-60%. 12-20% should come from protein, with no more than 30% to come from fat. No meals are forbidden although portion control should be thought about and all meals should be carefully planned.

Medication

There are a variety of medications that can be taken to help control diabetes, but these medications really depend on how severe an individual’s diabetes is and how sensitive they are to insulin and the type of medication recommended. Some of these medicines work to help an individual absorb carbohydrates more effectively, some work to increase the sensitivity of the cells to insulin, some work to affect glycaemic control and some work to decrease the amount of glucose produced by the liver.

Insulin

Insulin treatment is the main course of treatment for type I diabetics as well as for type II diabetics that are not responding well to lifestyle changes. Insulin is administered in such a way that it mimics the natural pattern of insulin secretion by the pancreas. This is difficult as the pattern is a relatively complex one; however, we know that a healthy lifestyle, diet and regular insulin injection throughout the day is the best route of treatment for most diabetics.

Insulin comes in a variety of preparations depending on how strong you need it, how soon it needs to work and how long it needs to work for. Combinations of insulin are usually given to allow for a more tailored regimen of blood sugar control.

Insulin is frequently administered through a syringe, with the insulin being contained in a vial. These injections are self-administered and the patient learns how to inject themselves at the hospital. Some insulin is available in an insulin pen, which has a needle on the end and a dial for you to control how much insulin you administer. Most pens hold around 300 units of insulin and the needle on the end of the pen is changed after each injection.

For patients who need 24 hour insulin, a device called an insulin pump is used. This pump is around the size of a pager and it is situated on the outside of your body. It’s connected using a cannula that goes through your stomach, and the cannula is changed every two days.

For more information on diabetes treatment, speak to your doctor.