Diabetes Basics

Let's Treat Diabetes


Diabetes treatment regimen includes various things such as diet, exercise, medication, lifestyle changes, monitoring blood sugar and the like. There is more for you to explore. The best way to treat diabetes is to control your blood sugar which helps you avoid any long-term complications.

The treatment for diabetes is a step-by-step process. The first step involves healthy diet and exercise. In the second place some alternative medicines can also be tried. If they are able to do no good, go for your doctor's prescriptions and recommendations. If all these fail to provide any kind of relief, transplantation of pancreas or islet cell is the last avenue left. Treatment like transplantation works well for those people whose kidneys fail to respond to any other treatments. Let's explore these steps of treatments in detail.

Diet for diabetes
If you have diabetes, it is not necessary that you will have to eat only bland and boring foods. Instead, you will have to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Foods that are high in nutrition and low in fats and calories should be the diet for the diabetics. Diabetes diet should include fewer animal products and sweets.

To know what and how much to eat is a very uphill task. A dietitian can bail you out of this problem. He/she will help you chalk out a plan that fits your health goals, food preferences and lifestyle. Once your meal plan is home and hosed, adhere to it very consistently. Consistency is of essence. By eating the same amount of food with the same proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats at the same time every day, blood sugar level can be controlled. Sticking to your diet can be very challenging but you are required to stay motivated.

Exercise
Exercise is essential for everyone and people with diabetes are no exception. It has been found that exercises that are good for heart and lungs also help lower blood sugar levels. But, before beginning any exercise, do consult your doctor. Once you are ready to take exercise, decide which activities you enjoy and are likely to stick with, such as walking, hiking, jogging, biking, tennis, cross-country skiing, swimming and the like.

At least a 30 minutes aerobic workout should be your target. To get the best results, combine your aerobic activity with strength-training and stretching exercises.

Medications
Medication is an integral part of diabetes treatment. Despite maintaining diet, exercise and healthy weight, you may need the help of medications. Everyone with Type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes are required to take insulin every day. Insulin can not be taken in a pill form. That's why, many people, by using a syringe or an insulin pen injector, inject themselves with insulin. Insulin pump can also be used which provides a continuous supply of insulin and eliminates the need for daily shots.

An insulin pump is a pumping device. It is worn outside your body. A small tube connects the reservoir of insulin to a catheter. Catheter is inserted under the skin of the abdomen. The pump gives out the set amount of insulin into your body and can be adjusted to infuse more or less insulin as per the requirement.

Synthetic human insulin is a widely used form of insulin, which is chemically identical to human insulin and manufactured in a laboratory. But, synthetic human insulin isn't the last word in the diabetes treatment. Actually it doesn't mimic the way natural insulin is secreted and this is its big shortcoming. But, there are some newer types of insulin, such as insulin analogs which resemble the way natural insulin acts in the body. Some of these are lispro (Humalog), insulin aspart (NovoLog) and glargine (Lantus).

Sometimes, some drugs are combined to have better results. With the help of drug combinations, you may be able to control your blood sugar in a better way. Any class of oral medications can be combined with drugs from any other class. Most doctors prescribe a combination of two drugs. However, the number of drugs may increase to 3, as per the need.

Transplantation

Transplantation is another way to treat diabetes. Researchers have been increasingly paying attention on transplantation for type 1 diabetics in the recent past. Transplantation is done in two ways:

1) Islet cell transplantation
2) Pancreas transplantation

However, as earlier said, transplantation is the last option and is only used in extreme cases.