Diabetes treatment

Type 2 diabetes treatments

Diabetes can usually be treated and managed very effectively but it is important that people with diabetes take responsibility for their condition and follow the advice of their doctors.

In some cases of type 2 diabetes no medical treatment may be required. Type 2 diabetes is often linked to lifestyle factors and doctors may recommend lifestyle changes before prescribing medication or insulin injections. These changes may include doing more exercise, losing weight and eating a healthy, balanced diet.

Tips for living a healthy lifestyle

If you have been advised to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle, you should follow these tips:

  • Limit your salt intake
  • Cut out foods that are high in saturated fats - this often includes processed foods, fast food and fried food, as well as sugary foods such as biscuits, cakes and chocolate
  • Eat vegetables and fruit - aim for at least five different portions per day
  • Eat plenty of pulses and oily fish
  • Eat complex carbohydrates, such as cereals, bread, pasta and rice, as they will keep you fuller for longer because they release energy over a long period of time
  • Step up your exercise regime - try to exercise for at least 30 minutes five times per week. If you’re not a fan of the gym try exercise classes, team sports or workout DVDs that you can do in the comfort of your own home

If lifestyle changes are not sufficient to control the condition, medication and insulin injections may be recommended. If you need medication your doctor will explain what the medication is and how it works. They will also explain how and when to use the medication. A healthcare team will monitor your condition and will be there to advise you on a range of issues, including diet and fitness. Your care team will also explain how to measure your blood glucose level and how to inject insulin. Although this may be a daunting prospect to begin with you will soon get used to it.

Type 1 diabetes treatments

Type 1 diabetes is brought about as a consequence to the body not being able to produce any insulin, so the illness is always treated with insulin injections. Insulin plays a very important role in the body, and in the absence of naturally produced insulin it must be injected to ensure that blood sugar levels are stable and safe.

Insulin is not available in tablet form because it is a protein and would therefore be digested by the stomach; instead, it is injected or given via an insulin pump. The needles are very small and the process should not be painful, as the needle only needs to go just under the skin. There are different types of insulin and your healthcare team will explain how your treatment works and how you should administer your insulin. Your care team will show you how to inject insulin and you will soon get used to injecting yourself. Insulin can also be given through insulin pumps.

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