Diabetes Help and Info

There are many ways to help treat diabetes so we will help guide you.

When looking into your options, it's important to keep these items in mind: 1) prescriptions drugs vs natural remedies 2) costs of either treatment 3) how hard is it to change your lifestyle 4) your willingness to change

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What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels that result from defects in insulin secretion or the body’s ability to use insulin.

Normally, blood glucose levels are tightly controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin lowers the blood glucose level. When the blood glucose elevates (for example, after eating food), insulin is released from the pancreas. This release of insulin promotes the uptake of glucose into body cells. In patients with diabetes, the absence of insufficient production or lack of response to insulin causes hyperglycemia. Diabetes is a chronic medical condition, meaning that although it can be controlled, it lasts a lifetime.

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes was formerly known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is more a result of insulin resistance (cells not being able to use insulin effectively or at all. It was formerly known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes.

What is Prediabetes? How is it Treated?

Prediabetes is the term used to describe elevated blood sugar (glucose) that has not yet reached the level for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. It can be treated by lifestyle changes such as consuming a healthy diet, weight loss, and regular exercise

What is the Treatment for Diabetes?

The major goal in treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes is to control blood sugar (glucose) levels within the normal range, with minimal excursions to low or high levels.

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Type 1 diabetes is treated with:

  • insulin,
  • exercise, and a
  • type 1 diabetes diet.

Type 2 diabetes is treated:

  • First with weight reduction, a type 2 diabetes diet, and exercise
  • Diabetes medications (oral or injected) are prescribed when these measures fail to control the elevated blood sugars of type 2 diabetes.
  • If other medications become ineffective treatment with insulin may be initiated.

Diabetes Diet

Proper nutrition is essential for all people with diabetes. Control of blood glucose levels is only one goal of a healthy eating plan. A diabetic diet helps achieve and maintain a normal body weight, while preventing the common cardiac and vascular complications of diabetes.

There is no prescribed diet plan for diabetes and no single “diabetes diet”. Eating plans are tailored to fit each individual's needs, schedules, and eating habits. Each diabetes diet plan must be balanced with the intake of insulin and other diabetes medications. In general, the principles of a healthy diabetes diet are the same for everyone. Consumption of various foods in a healthy diet includes whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, vegetarian substitutes, poultry, or fish.

People with diabetes may benefit from eating small meals throughout the day, instead of eating one or two heavy meals. No foods are absolutely forbidden for people with diabetes. Attention to portion control and advance meal planning can help people with diabetes enjoy the same meals as everyone else.

Glycemic index and glycemic load are further considerations in considering a meal plan for people with diabetes. Foods with low glycemic index and load raise blood sugar more slowly than high glycemic index/load foods. Glycemic index refers to a standardized measurement, while glycemic load takes a typical portion size into account.

Meal timing and amount of insulin administration are considerations when planning a diet for people with type 1 diabetes.

Weight Reduction and Exercise

Weight reduction and exercise are important treatments for type 2 diabetes. Weight reduction and exercise increase the body's sensitivity to insulin, thus helping to control blood sugar elevations.

Treatments for All Types of Diabetes

An important part of managing diabetes — as well as your overall health — is maintaining a healthy weight through a healthy diet and exercise plan:

  • Healthy eating. Contrary to popular perception, there's no specific diabetes diet. You'll need to center your diet on more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains — foods that are high in nutrition and fiber and low in fat and calories — and cut down on saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and sweets. In fact, it's the best eating plan for the entire family. Sugary foods are OK once in a while, as long as they're counted as part of your meal plan.

Yet, understanding what and how much to eat can be a challenge. A registered dietitian can help you create a meal plan that fits your health goals, food preferences and lifestyle. This will likely include carbohydrate counting, especially if you have type 1 diabetes or use insulin as part of your treatment.

  • Physical activity. Everyone needs regular aerobic exercise, and people who have diabetes are no exception. Exercise lowers your blood sugar level by moving sugar into your cells, where it's used for energy. Exercise also increases your sensitivity to insulin, which means your body needs less insulin to transport sugar to your cells.

Get your doctor's OK to exercise. Then choose activities you enjoy, such as walking, swimming or biking. What's most important is making physical activity part of your daily routine.

Aim for at least 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise most days of the week, or at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Bouts of activity can be as brief as 10 minutes, three times a day. If you haven't been active for a while, start slowly and build up gradually. It's also a good idea to avoid sitting for too long — aim to get up and move if you've been sitting for more than 30 minutes.

(sources: medicinenet, mayoclinic, webmd)