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Diabetes Treatments & Management

Woman with type 1 diabetes measuring her blood glucose levelsTreatment of diabetes has one main purpose: to lower any elevated glucose in the body and maintain a healthy blood sugar level at the same time. Research on diabetes has shown that managing this disease begins with a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy body weight and adhering to a diabetic diet are the fundamental ways to keep glucose levels healthy, even more important than any prescription drugs and insulin.

(If you live in Alabama and have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may qualify for our diabetes clinical trials in Birmingham, AL.)

The diabetic diet is one that is low in sugar intake, as the body already has trouble processing the glucose it has before intake of more food. The diabetic diet is also low in cholesterol, calories, simple sugars and fat. Exercise must be performed alongside the diet in order for the body to reduce its body mass index. Diet and exercise will make it possible for diabetes patients to regain sensitivity to insulin and naturally manage blood sugar levels.

There are also prescription medications and insulin injections available for further treatment. Also, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check are advisable preventative and curative courses of treatment. A daily dose of aspirin is also used to treat diabetes for those already diagnosed with the disease.

Type 1 Diabetes Treatments

When the immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells of the pancreas, the beta cells stop producing insulin. This leads to Type I diabetes. Type I diabetes (juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes) is the condition in which the pancreas stops producing an adequate amount of insulin for the body to use in processing glucose. More specifically, the immune system strikes against the beta cells of the pancreas, the cells that produce insulin, thereby disabling them from performing their function. With insufficient insulin available to metabolize the glucose produced in the body and taken in by food, glucose builds up in the blood stream and causes diabetes.

Type I diabetes is usually diagnosed in children, teenagers and young adults. It is treated with the following treatments:

  • Insulin
  • Diabetic diet
  • Weight loss
  • Maintenance of healthy body weight
  • Exercise

Type 2 Diabetes Treatments

Type II diabetes (adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes) is the condition in which the body’s liver cells, muscles and fat are not properly using insulin. The pancreas works very hard to secrete enough insulin to keep up with the body’s increased insulin demand. With time, however, the pancreas cannot continue to produce enough insulin after a person has eaten a meal and the blood stream is inundated with glucose.

Type II diabetes is treated with the following treatments:

  • Diabetic diet
  • Weight loss
  • Maintenance of healthy body weight
  • Exercise

If the above treatment methods are not successful in maintaining a healthy blood sugar level, then the following treatment is added:

  • Prescription oral medications

If all else fails, then the following is added to the list of treatments:

  • Insulin

The goals of the medications for type II diabetes include the following:

  • Enable the pancreas to generate more insulin
  • Decrease the liver’s glucose productivity
  • Amplify the sensitivity of bodily cells to insulin
  • Reduce carbohydrate absorption from the intestine
  • Slow the rate at which the stomach empties its contents in order to slow down the small intestine’s absorption and digestion of carbohydrates

Additional Treatment Options for Diabetics

Pregnant and breastfeeding diabetes patients should consult with their doctors before beginning to exercise and diet. Currently, such women are treated with diet, exercise and insulin therapy if necessary. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are generally not prescribed oral medications for diabetes treatment. If you are considering becoming pregnant, speak with your health care provider so that your treatment regimen could be appropriately modified, if necessary, so that there is no risk of fetal harm.

Speak with your doctor about developing the best-suited course of treatment for your case of diabetes, or if you exoerience any of the symptoms of diabetes. Everyone’s case is unique, and therefore some medicinal treatments may work for some but not others. If weight loss is necessary, find out from your health care provider how much weight you should lose to reduce your risk of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. With diet, exercise and weight loss, you should be on your way to controlling your diabetes and to having a brighter future.