Once people are diagnosed, the primary goals of type 2 diabetes treatments are to control glucose levels and to reduce other conditions that put patients at risk for major complications. Such complications include heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke, among many others. Treatments for type 2 diabetes are life-long – there is no pill to cure this chronic disease.
Of type 2 diabetes treatments, controlling blood glucose is the most widely-utilized. Generally, the goal is to keep one's blood sugar stable and doctors may set levels specific to each person. Controlling glucose requires careful monitoring. Doctors may have people check their blood sugar daily or several times a week; it varies by individual. Some people can manage their diabetes with changes to diet and exercise, while others require medication.
Diet and Exercise
Both diet and exercise have a significant impact on blood glucose levels. While there is no one diabetes diet, patients are encouraged to eat nutritious, low-calorie foods. They often have to reduce animal fats and sweets and count carbohydrates. Consistency is key. People must also make physical exercise a part of their daily routine. Exercise lowers blood sugar, so patients should make it a priority. Always consult a doctor before beginning an exercise regime, but for most people, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise combined with strength training, most days of the week, is ideal.
Some people find changes to diet and exercise sufficient treatments for type 2 diabetes, but many others require medication and insulin therapy. Medication regimes are individual, based on each person's medical history, other diseases, and individual factors. Yet metformin (Glucophage) is often prescribed; this diabetes medication lowers glucose production in the liver. Other oral or injected medications increase insulin-production in the pancreas. Still others block the breakdown or absorption of carbohydrates.
Insulin therapy is common among medication-based type 2 diabetes treatments. Patients may use insulin injections or an insulin pump; insulin cannot be taken orally. There are many different types of insulin and doctors may prescribe a mixture based on individual factors.
The second major goal of type 2 diabetes treatments is to reduce future complications. Patients must often make lifestyle changes. Doctors may recommend regular exercise, limiting alcohol, the cessation of smoking, among others. They may also prescribe certain medications like ACE inhibitors and diuretics to lower blood pressure, statins and fibrates to lower cholesterol, or aspirin and clopidogrel to control clotting. Regular check-ups will be required. If patients are conscientious, they can still enjoy active, healthy lives, even with the disease.