About diabetes part 2

How is diabetes treated

exclamation markAlways consult your GP immediately if you have a health problem or you are concerned about diabetes.

Diabetes is currently treated in two ways:

  • healthy diet and exercise
  • medication with tablets and/or insulin.

Insulin injections help increase the amount of insulin in your body and bring down the blood sugar level. Insulin injections are used in Type 1 diabetes, and in some cases of Type 2.

These can be taken once a day, or more frequently through the day. They can be used in combination with tablets if necessary.

There is oral medication available for treating Type 2 diabetes:

  • some increase insulin secreted by the pancreas
  • some increase the action of insulin in the body
  • some delay the absorption of glucose from the digestive system
  • some suppress a hormone called glucagon, which stops insulin from working.

Treatment for diabetes depends on the person. Monitoring blood level using a blood glucose meter is an important part of treatment (especially in type 1 diabetes, where levels are more erratic).

Managing diabetes

Diabetes is monitored through routine check-ups with your G.P (about every 3-6 months), and/or annual check-ups at the hospital on an outpatient basis.

The doctor will check the level of HbA1c (a measure of long-term glucose), home glucose readings, blood pressure and weight.

Their main purpose is to see if treatment is working as good as it can do, and to also check for any complications, such as kidney disease.

The annual check-up will include a urine sample and foot examination, and further discussion on ongoing treatment, exercise and smoking habits.

Long-term prospects

Both types of diabetes have the risk of complications.

  • Diabetic acidosis, a life-threatening condition caused by the lack of insulin.
  • Retinopathy – can cause blindness.
  • Diabetic kidney disease – can lead to kidney failure.
  • Diabetic neuropathy – can cause foot ulcers and foot infections.
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) – particularly in smokers and those with high blood pressure and abnormal fat levels in the blood.

Apart from Diabetic acidosis, these complications do not usually develop for 10-15 years, although in Type 2 diabetes symptons can appear quicker, as time of diagnosic is usually longer.

It is widely considered that good glucose control significantly reduces or even stop these complications. This means keeping the blood sugar level as close to normal as possible.

Recent studies have also highlighted the need for people with diabetes to reduce their risk of fatty deposits in your arteries, because if you have Type 2 diabetes, you have a four to five times greater risk of developing serious problems with your circulation that can lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

The main factors that increase your risk are:

  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • raised levels of fats such as cholesterol in the blood.

By taking measures to address these issues, you will reduce your chance of developing complications.

exclamation markAlways consult your GP immediately if you have a health problem or you are concerned about diabetes.

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