Diabetes Treatment


Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes:

Taking insulin.
Carbohydrate counting.
Frequent blood sugar monitoring.
Eating healthy foods.
Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.
The goal is to keep a diabetic's blood sugar level as close to normal as possible to delay or prevent complications.

Anyone who has type 1 diabetes will need lifelong insulin therapy.  Types of insulin include: rapid-acting insulin, long-acting insulin and intermediate options.

Insulin Administration: Insulin cannot be taken orally to lower blood sugar.  It must be given either through injections or an insulin pump.

  • Injections: A person can use a fine needle and syringe or an insulin pen to inject insulin underneath the skin.  If a person chooses injections, they will likely need a mixture of insulin types to use throughout the day and night. Multiple daily injections that include a combination of a long-acting insulin, combined with a rapid-acting insulin, and this more closely mimic the body's normal use of insulin.
  • An insulin pump: A small device worn on the outside of your body. A tube connects a reservoir of insulin to a catheter that's inserted under the skin of the abdomen.  Pumps are programmed to dispense specific amounts of rapid-acting insulin automatically. This steady dose of insulin is known as basal rate, and it replaces whatever long-acting insulin the person was using.  When a person eats, it is programed to pump with the amount of carbohydrates the person is eating and their current blood sugar, and it will give them what is called a "bolus" dose of insulin to cover their meal and to correct their blood sugar if it's elevated.

Other Medications: Additional medications may also be prescribed for people with Type 1 diabetes:     
       -High blood pressure medications.
       -Cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Blood Sugar Monitoring: Depending on what type of insulin therapy a person selects or requires, they may need to check and record their blood sugar level at least four times a day, and generally more often. Careful monitoring is the only way to make sure that your blood sugar level remains within a person's target range.

Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes:

Healthy eating.
Regular exercise.
A Type 2 diabetic could potentially need diabetes medication or insulin therapy
Blood Sugar Monitoring

Diabetes Medications and Insulin Therapies for Type 2 Diabetes: Some people who have type 2 diabetes can achieve their target blood sugar levels with diet and exercise alone, but many also need diabetes medications or insulin therapy. The decision about which medications are best depends on many factors, including blood sugar level and any other health problems a person may have. The doctor might even combine drugs from different classes to help control blood sugar in several different ways.  In addition to diabetes medications, the doctor might prescribe low-dose aspirin therapy as well as blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications to help prevent heart and blood vessel disease.

Bariatric Therapy: If a person has type 2 diabetes and their body mass index (BMI) is greater than 35, they may be a candidate for weight-loss surgery (bariatric surgery). Blood sugar levels return to normal in 55 to 95 percent of people with diabetes, depending on the procedure performed. Surgeries that bypass a portion of the small intestine have more of an effect on blood sugar levels than do other weight-loss surgeries.  Drawbacks to the surgery include cost, and there are risks involved, including a risk of death. Additionally, drastic lifestyle changes are required and long-term complications may include nutritional deficiencies and osteoporosis.

-Mayo Clinic