Depending on what type of diabetes you have, blood sugar monitoring, insulin and oral medications may play a role in your treatment. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and participating in regular activity also are important factors in managing diabetes.
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 – You’ll need to center your diet on more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, foods that are high in nutrition and fiber and low in fat and calories and cut down on animal products, 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 overall meal plan.
Yet understanding what and how much to eat is the key challenge.
Your RediCare Health coach will develop a meal plan that fits your health goals, food preferences and lifestyle. RediCare monitors your adherence to this plan on a daily basis and assists you implementing it. After completing the RediCare 16 week pre diabetes prevention program you will have developed a very strong understanding on how to manage your food intake which will assist with you weight control as well.
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 RediCare doctor’s OK to exercise. Your RediCare Health Coach will then design a series of exercise and 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. At RediCare we target 12,500 steps each day for most patients as well as structured exercise for clients who want to do more.
If you haven’t been active for a while, start slowly, we will monitor you, build up gradually and safely.
Weight – Losing c. 10% of your body weight can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%-85%. In the RediCare Diabetes Prevention Program we implement a plan to reduce your body weight by c. 10% over the 16 week period. We give all our clients an electronic scales which allows us to monitor your weight loss progress every day.
All your food and exercise is logged so you and your RediCare coach can get a complete picture of your lifestyle and your adherence to the RediCare Diabetes Prevention program. Once we have these insights we can make many small changes to your lifestyle to drive sustainable weight loss.
Treatments for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
Treatment for type 1 diabetes involves insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump, frequent blood sugar checks, and carbohydrate counting. Treatment of type 2 diabetes primarily involves monitoring of your blood sugar, along with diabetes medications, insulin or both.
· Monitoring your Blood Sugar – Depending on your treatment plan, you may check and record your blood sugar as often as several times a week to as many as four to eight times a day. Careful monitoring is the only way to make sure that your blood sugar level remains within your target range. People who receive insulin therapy also may choose to monitor their blood sugar levels with a continuous glucose monitor.
· Even with careful management, blood sugar levels can sometimes change unpredictably. With help from your diabetes treatment team, you’ll learn how your blood sugar level changes in response to food, physical activity, medications, illness, alcohol, stress, for women, fluctuations in hormone levels.
In addition to daily blood sugar monitoring, your doctor will likely recommend regular A1C testing to measure your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Compared with repeated daily blood sugar tests, A1C testing better indicates how well your diabetes treatment plan is working overall. An elevated A1C level may signal the need for a change in your insulin regimen or meal plan. Your target A1C goal may vary depending on your age and various other factors. However, for most people with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends an A1C of below 7 percent. Ask your RediCare doctor what your A1C target is.
· Insulin – People with type 1 diabetes need insulin therapy to survive. Many people with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes also need insulin therapy.
Many types of insulin are available, including rapid-acting insulin, long-acting insulin and intermediate options. Depending on your needs, your doctor may prescribe a mixture of insulin types to use throughout the day and night.
Insulin can’t be taken orally to lower blood sugar because stomach enzymes interfere with insulin’s action. Often insulin is injected using a fine needle and syringe or an insulin pen — a device that looks like a large ink pen.
An insulin pump may also be an option. The pump is a device about the size of a phone worn on the outside of your body. A tube connects the reservoir of insulin to a catheter that’s inserted under the skin of your abdomen. A tubeless pump that works wirelessly is also now available. You program an insulin pump to dispense specific amounts of insulin. It can be adjusted to deliver more or less insulin depending on meals, activity level and blood sugar level.
· Oral or Other Medications – Sometimes other oral or injected medications are prescribed as well. Some diabetes medications stimulate your pancreas to produce and release more insulin. Others inhibit the production and release of glucose from your liver, which means you need less insulin to transport sugar into your cells. Still others block the action of stomach or intestinal enzymes that break down carbohydrates or make your tissues more sensitive to insulin. Metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, others) is generally the first medication prescribed for type 2 diabetes.
· Transplantation – In some people who have type 1 diabetes, a pancreas transplant may be an option. Islet transplants are being studied as well. With a successful pancreas transplant, you would no longer need insulin therapy. But transplants aren’t always successful — and these procedures pose serious risks. You need a lifetime of immune-suppressing drugs to prevent organ rejection. These drugs can have serious side effects, including a high risk of infection, organ injury and cancer. Because the side effects can be more dangerous than the diabetes, transplants are usually reserved for people whose diabetes can’t be controlled or those who also need a kidney transplant.
· Bariatric Surgery – Although it is not specifically considered a treatment for type 2 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes who also have a body mass index higher than 35 may benefit from this type of surgery. People who’ve undergone gastric bypass have seen significant improvements in their blood sugar levels. However, this procedure’s long-term risks and benefits for type 2 diabetes aren’t yet known.