Type 1 diabetes and diabetes Type 2 are both prevalent in the US, making up as much as 1 in 10 of the population, and the number is growing each day. Type 1 diabetes is also called juvenile diabetes, because of its onset in childhood. Type 2 diabetes typically is diagnosed in adults, and often comes, in part, as a result of a fast food diet, and poor exercise habits. While Type 1 is impossible to reverse, Type 2 diabetes treatment reponds well to a self care treatment regimin. Diabetes help is a cooperative endeavor, including the diabetic and his doctor. Diabetes control is possible if the patient approaches treating diabetes with a good attitude.
For patients who are determined to manage their diabetes, and have good diabetes control, there are several standard components of type 2 diabetes treatment.
- Diet is important to control blood sugar. While a variety of approaches may be legitimate, it is always good to work with a nutritionist or dietician, so that whatever diet strategy is embraced is informed by the input of a professional who is familiar with diets that work . A healthy eating plan is essential to good diabetes control.
- Exercise is important, not just to keep weight down and burn calories, but to help control cholesterol, which is often a major complicating problem for diabetics. Aerobic exercise is most helpful, and should be done several times per week.
- Frequent contact with doctors is important. In addition to the doctor who manages the diabetes, there should be a visit with an endocrinologist, and yearly foot and eye examinations. The eye exams are to address any diabetic retinopathy, and the foot exams are to avoid the loss of digits, feet and limbs that can occur when sensation is impaired and care is not taken to avoid infections. Edema can also be a problem that the foot doctor can address.
- Monitoring blood sugar levels is important. Not only is it good to know when the blood sugar is high or low, but it is also important for the diabetic to be able to connect how they are feeling to the low blood sugar levels. The doctor will also want to look at the level of hemoglobin A1C, which is a pretty good measure of the overall blood sugar levels over the past several weeks. A1C is not something you can reliably measure yourself.
- Minimizing stress and maximizing compliance with these fundamentals of self-care are important too. Some diabetics benefit from talking with a therapist or counselor, and others find a support group of other diabetics, either in person or on an online diabetes forum. Treating diabetes should not be a solo project.
- Medication is important for most diabetics, and there are several useful type 2 diabetes treatments that are avaialble in addition to insulin. There are insulin-like drugs, anti-cholesterol medications, and of course dietary supplements just to name a few. Complications like edema and kidney problems can also require a pharmacological component to treating diabetes.
- For chronic or severe cases, there are often numerous complications that require specialized treatment interventions, such as dialysis for kidney problems.
- Daily self examination of the diabetic's foot and other hard to see parts of the body, can prevent loss of digits or limbs, as can wearing diabetic shoes.
Stop Diabetes picture by Steven Depolo. The above article is intended as education and is not meant to be a substitute for a professioanally guided treatment for type 2 diabetes.