Diabetes: Treatment and control

For anyone diagnosed of "diabetes",the first question that comes to mind is probably:"Does this mean daily insulin shots?"
There is no simple answer to that question because there are different types of diabetes. The kind of treatment depends on the type of diabetes,the age of the person at which the diabetes first appeared and how well the person responds to the treatment.

For better understanding of the different types of diabetes,it is important to know what diabetes is. Normally our bodies convert the food we eat into a type of sugar called glucose. This glucose is carried through out our bodies through our bloodstream. Insulin(a hormone produced in the pancreas)helps to convert the glucose into energy used for our daily activities. In a person with diabetes this doesn't happen. There maybe several reasons for this. In some persons the pancreas makes no insulin. Medically this is known as Type 1 diabetes. Some other persons don't make enough insulin or sometimes the body can't use the insulin properly. The two fall into the category called Type 2 diabetes.

Apart from the above differences of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes most often appears in children,adolescents and young adults. Though the exact cause isn't known,it is believed that some people may be born with a gene that makes them susceptible to Type 1 diabetes,but they don't develop the condition until something triggers the gene. Of all the persons with diabetes only about 10% have Type 1.

Type 2 is more versatile with people above the age of 40. It develops much slower than Type 1 and may take several years before symptoms become severe enough to be noticed. The people highly at risk of Type 2 form of diabetes are the overweight,the inactive, and those with family history of diabetes.

There are warning signs that can point to possible blood sugar problems,and you should look out for them.
For type 1, the symptoms include:
1. Unusual thirst
2. Frequent urination
3. Changes in appetite
4. Unexplained weight loss
5. Irritability
6. Weakness
7. Nausea and vomiting

For Type 2 symptoms may include any of the signs pointing to Type 1 just that they develop more slowly in Type 2. Other possible symptoms of Type 2 include.
1. Cuts that don't heal quickly.
2. Slow healing of infections of the skin,gums, or bladder.
3. Itching of parts of the body.
4. Tingling or numbness of hands and feet.
5. Drowsiness
6. Blurred vision
Having the symptoms doesn't mean you have diabetes. What it means is that you have a problem and you should discuss it with your doctor.

As mentioned before,the treatment for diabetes depends on a number of factors including the type of diabetes a person has. Type 1 is treated by a combination of a meal plan and a program of regular physical activity,both of which are designed on an individual basis. Treatments also include daily injection of insulin and education about this problem. The more you know about diabetes the better you can control it.
Many people with Type 2 can control their diabetes by a combination of careful attention to meal plans and a program of regular physical activity. Sometimes pills or insulin injections are necessary to achieve good control.

Everyone with diabetes regardless of the type should monitor blood sugar levels regularly. If you have diabetes your doctor,diabetes educator or pharmacist will help you to develop a personalized treatment plan. Part of this plan will be a schedule of blood sugar testing. Make sure you follow this schedule and to record the results of the tests because they provide a guide for adjusting food,physical activity and medicine to keep diabetes under control.

Another important test is a glycosylated hemoglobin test. In addition to your regular self-checking of blood sugar levels,your doctor may recommend this test which is done in a lab every three to six months. It measures your average blood sugar level over a period of several months.

If you have diabetes, keeping the condition on check helps to reduce risk of kidney problems,blindness heart attack,stroke,and nerve damage that can lead to gangrene and impotence. In young pregnant women controlling blood sugar levels increases her chances of having a normal health baby.

The most important steps you can take to control diabetes are:
1. Test your blood sugar levels on schedule and record your results.
2. Stick to the meal plan and physical activity that has been developed for you by your doctor.
3. Take your insulin and other medications exactly how and when your health professionals prescribed.
4. Get more educated about diabetes.

About 80% of overweight people have Type 2 diabetes(American Diabetes Association). It is essential you lose weight because the extra pounds interfere with your body's ability to convert glucose to energy. Losing excess weight not only reduces the amount of body fat,it also helps your insulin to do it's job better. In some people losing weight is enough to bring down sugar levels.
It is also important you quit smoking. People with diabetes tends to have circulation problems. Smoking constricts blood vessels making circulation problems worse.It also contributes to heart disease,and people with diabetes are already more likely to develop heart disease without the added problem caused by smoking. Remember circulation problems affect your whole body.

Before you take any medicine,prescription or non prescription speak with your pharmacists. Some non prescription drugs contain ingredients that can add to your blood sugar problems. When buying non prescription remedies,look for sugar and alcohol free products. If you are not sure about something ask your pharmacist. If you have any doubt or questions about any medications you are taking discuss them with your pharmacist.


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