Treatment of Diabetes
What is the treatment for diabetes?
Specific treatment for diabetes will be discussed with you by your healthcare provider
Type of diabetes
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the disease
Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the disease
Your opinion or preference
Type 1 diabetes
People with type 1 diabetes no longer produce insulin, and they must have insulin
injections to use the glucose, or sugar, they obtain from eating.
People with type 1 diabetes must give themselves insulin several times per day. Insulin
can either be injected, which involves the use of a needle and syringe, or it can
be given by an insulin pump, insulin pen, or jet injector, or inhaler. Extra amounts
of insulin may be taken before meals, depending on the blood glucose level and food
to be eaten.
Insulin currently can't be taken as a pill. Because it's a protein, it would be broken
down during digestion just like the protein in food. It must be injected into the
fat under the skin for insulin to get into the blood.
New pharmaceutical materials and techniques have been developed, however, that can
protect insulin from being broken down in the digestive tract. The first human trials
of oral insulin were reported in 2006. Phase I clinical trials have shown insulin
given in a gel capsule to be safe and effective. Clinical trials will continue over
the next several years as the medicine moves through the federal approval process.
The amount of insulin needed depends on height, weight, age, food intake, and activity
level. Insulin doses must be balanced with mealtimes and activities, and dosage levels
can be affected by illness, stress, or unexpected events.
Type 2 diabetes
Although people with type 2 diabetes may continue to produce some insulin for some
time, their bodies can't efficiently use it. This is known as insulin resistance,
and may indicate the need for oral medicines or injections that can help stimulate
the pancreas to release insulin or optimize the body's ability to use the insulin
secreted. People with type 2 diabetes need insulin during illness and later when they
are not able to control diabetes with noninsulin therapies.
Diet and exercise
Diet and exercise can often bring blood glucose levels down to normal. When these
measures are no longer enough, the next step is the addition of medicines that lower
blood glucose levels.