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Understanding Diabetes

Understanding Diabetes


Diagnosis and Treatment of Diabetes

There are a number of treatments available to help you manage and treat your diabetes. Everyone is different, so treatment will vary depending on your own individual needs

How Do I Know if I Have Diabetes?

If you have some diabetes risk factors or high blood sugar levels in your urine, your doctor may suspect you have diabetes. If your pancreas produces little or no insulin (type 1 diabetes), or if your body does not respond correctly to insulin, your blood sugar (also known as blood glucose) levels may be high (type 2 diabetes).

One of three tests is used to diagnose you. In the majority of situations, your doctor will wish to repeat a high-risk test to confirm the diagnosis:

  • A fasting glucose test is a test of your blood sugar levels done before you eat in the morning. A blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or higher could indicate diabetes.
  • An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) requires you to drink a glucose-containing beverage and then have your blood glucose levels monitored every 30 to 60 minutes for up to 3 hours. You may have diabetes if your glucose level is 200 mg/dL or above after 2 hours.
  • The A1c test is a basic blood test that indicates your average blood sugar levels over the previous two to three months. If your A1c score is 6.5 percent or greater, you might have diabetes.

A zinc transporter 8 autoantibody (ZnT8Ab) test may also be recommended by your doctor. This blood test, combined with other information and test results, can assist identify whether or not a person has type 1 diabetes. The purpose of the ZnT8Ab test is to provide a quick and accurate diagnosis, which can lead to immediate treatment.

What Are the Treatments for Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious illness that requires medical attention. Your doctor will assist you in developing a diabetic treatment plan that is appropriate for you and that you can follow. Other health care professionals, such as a foot doctor, dietitian, eye doctor, and diabetes specialist, may be needed as part of your diabetes treatment team (called an endocrinologist).

Diabetes treatment includes a mix of drugs, exercise, and food to keep your blood sugar levels under control (and at a goal specified by your doctor). You can limit or avoid the “seesaw effect” of rapidly shifting blood sugar levels by paying close attention to what and when you eat. This can need swift adjustments in medication dosages, especially insulin. Learn how to select the most appropriate diabetes treatment for you.

Diabetes Medication

When you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas stops producing the insulin that allows your body to use blood sugar for energy. Insulin will be required in the form of injections or a continuous pump. Learning to inject yourself, your infant, or your kid may appear to be the most difficult aspect of diabetes management at first, but it is far easier than you think.

Some diabetics use an insulin pump, which is a computerised pump that delivers insulin on a regular schedule. The pump is programmed by you and your doctor to supply a specific amount of insulin throughout the day (the basal dose). Plus, before you eat, you programme the pump to administer a specific amount of insulin-dependent on your blood sugar level (bolus dose).There are five forms of injectable insulin:

  • Rapid-acting (taking effect within a few minutes and lasting 2-4 hours)
  • Regular or short-acting (taking effect within 30 minutes and lasting 3-6 hours)
  • Intermediate-acting (taking effect in 1-2 hours and lasting up to 18 hours)
  • Long-acting (taking effect in 1-2 hours and lasting beyond 24 hours)
  • Ultra-long-acting (taking effect in 1-2 hours and lasting 42 hours)

MHRA-approved for usage before meals is a rapid-acting inhaled insulin (Afrezza). In individuals with type 1 diabetes, it must be administered in conjunction with long-acting insulin, and it should not be used by smokers or those with chronic lung disease. A single dose cartridge is included. For those who require more than one type of insulin, premixed insulin is also available.

Insulin degludec (Tresiba) is a long-acting, once-daily insulin that provides a baseline dosage of insulin that lasts for more than 42 hours. (It’s the only basal insulin approved for patients as young as one year old with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.) It’s also available in a Ryzodeg 70/30 combination with rapid-acting insulin.

Each treatment plan is unique to the individual and can be modified depending on what you eat and how much you exercise, as well as stress and illness.

You can follow your body’s changing insulin needs and work with your doctor to determine the appropriate insulin dosage by measuring your own blood sugar levels. A glucometer is used by people with diabetes to check their blood sugar up to multiple times each day. A sample of your blood is dabbed on a strip of treated paper, and the glucometer measures glucose levels. There are also devices known as continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGMS) that can be worn on your body and measure your blood sugars every few minutes for up to a week. However, because these gadgets measure glucose levels on the skin rather than in the blood, they are less precise than a typical glucometer.

Diet and exercise are adequate for some persons with type 2 diabetes to keep the disease under control. Other patients require medicine, such as insulin or an oral pill.

Drugs for type 2 diabetes function in a variety of methods to restore normal blood sugar levels. Among them are:

  • Chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glimepiride (Amaryl), glipizide (Glucotrol), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase), nateglinide (Starlix), and repaglinide are examples of drugs that stimulate insulin synthesis by the pancreas (Prandin)
  • Acarbose (Precose) and miglitol are two drugs that reduce sugar absorption by the intestines (Glyset)
  • Pioglitazone (Actos) and rosiglitazone (Rosiglitazone) are two drugs that improve how the body uses insulin (Avandia)
  • Metformin and other drugs reduce sugar synthesis in the liver and improve insulin resistance (Glucophage). Metformin causes weight reduction, which is one of the ways it helps restore normal blood sugar levels.
  • Alogliptin (Nesina), dulaglutide (Trulicity), exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon), linagliptin (Tradjenta), liraglutide (Victoza), lixisenatide (Adlyxin), saxagliptin (Onglyza), semaglutide (Ozempic), and sitagliptin are examples of drugs that enhance insulin production by (Januvia).
  • Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are drugs that prevent glucose reabsorption by the kidney and increase glucose excretion in the urine. They also cause weight loss, which aids in the normalisation of blood sugar levels. Canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), empagliflozin (Jardiance), and ertugliflozin (Jardiance) are the four drugs (Steglatro). In individuals with heart failure, these medicines can also help minimise the risk of hospitalisation and cardiovascular death.
  • Pramlintide (Symlin) is a synthetic hormone that can be injected. It aids insulin-dependent diabetics in lowering blood sugar levels after meals.

Some pills have multiple diabetes medications in them. Empagliflozin/linagliptin, which was just approved, is one of them (Glyxambi). It combines an SGLT2 inhibitor, which prevents glucose from being reabsorbed into the kidneys, with a DPP-4 inhibitor, which boosts hormones, allowing the pancreas to make more insulin and the liver to create less glucose.

Nutrition and Meal Timing for Diabetes

People with diabetes need to eat a balanced diet, so work with your doctor or nutritionist to create a menu plan. When you have type 1 diabetes, your insulin dosage is dictated by your activity and diet. What you eat is only as important as when and how much you eat. Doctors usually recommend three small meals and three to four snacks per day to keep the blood sugar and insulin levels in check.

A balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats will help you maintain a healthy blood glucose level. The amount of each is determined by a variety of factors, including your weight and personal tastes. Controlling your blood sugar requires an understanding of how much you require and how much you consume. If you’re overweight, a low-carbohydrate, low-fat/low-calorie or Mediterranean diet could help you reach your ideal weight. Saturated fat should make up no more than 7% of your diet, and trans fats should be avoided at all costs.

Fill half of your plate with nonstarchy vegetables like:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Salad greens
  • Squash
  • Tomato

Also, try to get some of the following in your diet:

  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Lean meat
  • Low-fat or nonfat dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Poultry or fish
  • Sweet potatoes

Tofu and other vegetarian protein sources are also available.

Eat whole grains whenever possible. If you consume cereal, make sure whole grain is listed first on the ingredient list.

Whole grains include the following:

  • Brown rice
  • Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Millet
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • Sorghum
  • Whole oats oatmeal
  • Whole wheat

Food that is less processed is better in general. It has a lower glycemic index, which suggests it may have a smaller impact on blood sugar levels. Whole oats, for example, have a lower glycemic index than quick oatmeal.

You can lose weight and improve your diabetes if you have type 2 diabetes and maintain a good diet and exercise plan. Long-term weight loss by diet and exercise, according to one study, may reduce your risk of stroke and dementia.

Exercise for Diabetes

Exercise is another important component of a diabetes treatment plan. Before beginning an exercise regimen with either form of diabetes, see your doctor. Exercise enhances insulin sensitivity and may help to reduce blood sugar levels. Check your blood sugar and, if necessary, consume a carbohydrate snack approximately half an hour before exercising to avoid dangerously low blood sugar levels. Stop exercising and consume a carbohydrate snack or drink if you start to feel symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Check again after 15 minutes. If it’s still too low, have another snack.

Exercise can assist some people with type 2 diabetes lower their blood glucose levels and may even help those who are at risk of developing the condition.

Exercise can help individuals with either type of diabetes reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke and improve their circulation. It might also help with stress. Moderate exercise can help people with type 2 diabetes who are trying to lose weight. Most diabetics are advised to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week, such as walking. Strength training should be done at least twice a week, according to most experts. Consult your doctor to determine the best form of exercise for you. When you have diabetes, learn how to start (and stick to) a workout routine.

Start slowly if you are not currently active. Then gradually increase the amount of exercise you get. Each week, aim for four to seven periods of action. Make each period at least 30 minutes long. You don’t have to go to the gym to be physically active. Instead of taking the elevator, take the steps or park at the far end of the lot. Both of these activities add workouts to your everyday routine.

Make a plan and set a reasonable target. What exercises are you going to undertake, and when are you going to do them? For example, on most days during your lunch break, you might plan to walk for 30 minutes.

Change your hobbies frequently enough to avoid boredom. Walking or jogging are examples of aerobic activities. Resistance workouts, such as lifting weights, are another alternative. Whatever you do, remember to stretch before and after every workout.

It’s critical to understand that exercising reduces blood sugar levels. Consult your doctor to see whether you need to change your medications or insulin dosage to keep your levels stable.

Lifestyle Changes for Diabetes

Wear a medical ID tag

Wearing a MedicAlert bracelet or tag that says you have diabetes is a smart idea. This will alert people to your status in the event that you experience a severe hypoglycemia crisis and are unable to communicate, or if you are involved in an accident and require immediate medical attention. It’s critical to recognise yourself as a diabetic since hypoglycemia attacks can be misinterpreted for intoxication, and victims are frequently unable to care for themselves. Hypoglycemia can cause a coma or convulsions if not treated quickly. Your blood sugar levels will need to be examined by the medical staff who provide emergency care since your body is under heightened stress while you are ill or injured.

Maintain good dental hygiene.

Make sure you brush and floss your teeth on a regular basis. Gum disease can be exacerbated by diabetes.

Reduce stress

When you’re stressed, you may exercise less, drink more, and pay less attention to your diabetes.

Stress can also raise blood sugar levels and make you less insulin sensitive. Your body goes into “fight or flight” mode when you’re stressed. That is to say, it will ensure that you have adequate sugar and fat for energy.

Blood sugar levels rise for most people with type 1 diabetes when they are stressed, but fall for others, according to studies. Your glucose will rise if you have type 2 diabetes and are under stress.

If something is bothering you, attempt to make some changes that will allow you to relax. Exercise, socialise with friends, meditate, or replace negative ideas with positive ones are all options. Do whatever suits you best.

Support groups, counselling, and therapy can also be beneficial.

Quit smoking

Stop doing it. It will help you maintain better blood sugar management.

If you smoke, you’re more likely to have major health problems, as well as an increased risk of diabetic complications. Some examples are:

  • Kidney and heart disease
  • Infections, foot ulcers, and amputation of your toes or foot may result from poor blood supply to the legs and feet.
  • Retinopathy is a blindness-causing eye condition.
  • Nerve damage in the arms and legs that produces weakness, numbness, discomfort, and poor coordination is known as peripheral neuropathy.

Reduce alcohol Consumption

Drinking alcohol while on insulin or oral diabetic medications like sulfonylureas or meglitinides might cause hazardous blood sugar drops. When you drink, instead of regulating your blood sugar, your liver needs to work to remove the alcohol from your blood.

Dizziness, confusion, and tiredness are all symptoms of intoxication and low blood sugar. The symptoms of too much alcohol and low blood sugar may be confused. A lady should limit herself to one drink per day. The daily limit for men is two drinks. Choose no-calorie mixers like club soda or diet soda for mixed cocktails.

Switch to a light beer or wine spritzer instead. You can also drink water or another calorie-free beverage more slowly.

You might eat better if you cut back on the drinks. Alcohol might make it more difficult to resist overeating.

Keep a diary

Keeping a detailed daily journal might assist you in tracking the factors that influence your glucose levels. This log could include the following:

  • Insulin and other medications
  • Food, especially carbs
  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Illnesses

See if any trends emerge after a week or so.

Write down everything you eat or drink for a week or two, including portion sizes, if you’re trying to lose weight. This will show you exactly where you are and what improvements you can make.

Check your blood sugar before you drink, while you’re drinking, before you go to bed, and the next day if you drink alcohol. For up to 24 hours after your last drink, alcohol reduces blood sugar.

Alternative Medicine for Diabetes

Vitamins and minerals

Diabetes should never be treated solely with alternative medicine. However, in addition to medicine, a healthy diet, and exercise, there are things you can do to help control your blood sugar and avoid diabetic problems.

Despite the fact that chromium has an effect on insulin and glucose metabolism, there is no evidence that taking chromium supplements can aid with diabetes therapy. Many nutritious foods, such as green vegetables, nuts, and grains, contain chromium. Biotin, often known as vitamin H, has been shown in studies to improve glucose metabolism in diabetics when combined with chromium. However, no research has proven that biotin is beneficial on its own.

Vitamins B6 and B12 may help treat diabetic nerve pain if you have a deficiency in these vitamins that is causing the pain. However, there is no evidence that supplementing with these vitamins can assist.

Vitamin C may compensate for low insulin levels in the blood, which assist cells to absorb the vitamin. Vitamin C inadequate doses may assist the body to maintain a healthy cholesterol level and manage blood sugar levels. However, too much might lead to kidney stones and other issues. Consult your doctor to see if you should take a vitamin C supplement.

Vitamin E may help protect against kidney and eye illness by limiting blood vessel damage. However, too much might cause major issues, such as an increased risk of stroke. Before taking this product, consult your doctor.

Magnesium aids in blood sugar regulation. Some diabetics suffer from severe magnesium insufficiency. Magnesium supplements may help insulin work better in this scenario.

Mind/body medicine

Stress hormones are reduced by guided imagery, biofeedback, meditation, hypnotherapy, and yoga, which may assist to normalise blood sugar levels. Biofeedback may also assist lower blood pressure, although more research is needed to determine its involvement in diabetes and high blood pressure management.

Herbal remedies

Capsaicin cream, a cayenne-based topical ointment, has been reported by some individuals to help with diabetic neuropathy pain in the hands and feet. Capsaicin should be used with caution by those who have lost sensation in their hands or feet, as they may not be able to completely experience any burning sensation. If you’re considering trying this product, talk to your doctor first.

Evening primrose oil is thought to alleviate diabetic nerve pain, although there is no clear evidence.

Other herbals that have been advocated as diabetic symptoms cures include ginkgo, garlic, holy basil leaves, fenugreek seeds, ginseng, and hawthorn. More research is needed to determine what role, if any, herbals may play. Before using any herbal product, consult your doctor.