Finding the right diabetes treatment for you can be difficult. This section is packed with research, information and reviews on the most common diabetes treatments, including oral medications, insulin, alternative treatments, diabetes diet plans and more. Read first-hand reviews from other people with diabetes about treatment side effects and benefits, and learn more about the latest diabetes treatment research.
Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes can be prevented with lifestyle changes, for example, eating a healthy diet, getting more physical activity, reducing stress, quit smoking, and reducing or managing blood pressure and cholesterol, and managing any other health conditions or risk factors that you may have for developing type 2 diabetes.
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Being overweight, physically inactive and eating the wrong foods all contribute to our risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Drinking just one can of (non-diet) soda per day can raise our risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22%, researchers from Imperial College London reported in the journal Diabetologia. The scientists believe that the impact of sugary soft drinks on diabetes risk may be a direct one, rather than simply an influence on body weight.
Of note, these studies examined the drugs in combination with metformin (Table 9.4) in the great majority of patients for whom metformin was not contraindicated or not tolerated. For patients with type 2 diabetes who have ASCVD, on lifestyle and metformin therapy, it is recommended to incorporate an agent with strong evidence for cardiovascular risk reduction especially those with proven benefit on both major adverse cardiovascular events and cardiovascular death after consideration of drug-specific patient factors (Table 8.1). See Fig. 8.1 for additional recommendations on antihyperglycemic treatment in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Another newer concern is an association of treatment with a small increase in the frequency of fractures of the distal long bones of the arms and legs. At present, this observation does not translate into of the hip and spine, which would be more worrisome. More data is still needed to make a definitive statement about cause and effect.
Exenatide is the first in the incretin mimetic class of drugs for type 2 diabetes. Exenatide shares many therapeutic properties with GLP-1, and it mimics natural physiology for self-regulating blood sugar. Namely, exenatide slows stomach emptying and slows the release of glucose from the liver, thereby regulating delivery of nutrients to the intestine for absorption. Exenatide also works centrally in the brain to regulate hunger.
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There are many food lists available that show how many grams of carbohydrate and fat are in most foods. Also, most any food you purchase in a grocery story lists carbohydrate and fat content as part of the food label requirements mandated by the federal government.
“It’s critical that people with diabetes pay attention to their heart health,” said registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “They should combine a healthy complex carbohydrate with some protein and a little bit of healthy fat for meals and snacks. They should also avoid trans fats and limit saturated fats.” Know your fats.
For most people with type 2 diabetes, weight loss also can make it easier to control blood glucose and offers a host of other health benefits. If you need to lose weight, a diabetes diet provides a well-organized, nutritious way to reach your goal safely.
Trick (important): Take a swig of vinegar before every meal. This lowers your blood sugar by 30%. Most people use apple cider vinegar. If you can’t stomach it, a friend who monitors her blood sugar to control gestational diabetes tells me that 5 gherkin pickles also do the trick.
This modality can be contrasted with the emphasis of conventional medicine, which is to cure or mitigate disease, as reported by the American Holistic Health Association. For example, a conventional practitioner will follow an established algorithm for diabetes management that includes a medically established protocol centered on monitoring blood sugar and prescribing medications to balance it. An alternative medicine provider takes a personalized, whole-person approach that may include a prescription for changes in diet and exercise habits, stress reduction, and other lifestyle considerations. (The table below offers a comparison of alternative medicine with conventional medicine.)
The treatment of low blood sugar consists of administering a quickly absorbed glucose source. These include glucose containing drinks, such as orange juice, soft drinks (not sugar-free), or glucose tablets in doses of 15-20 grams at a time (for example, the equivalent of half a glass of juice). Even cake frosting applied inside the cheeks can work in a pinch if patient cooperation is difficult. If the individual becomes unconscious, glucagon can be given by intramuscular injection.
Insulin can be delivered via syringes or pens, pumps or new artificial pancreas systems. Though the administration method, frequency and type of insulin dosage vary on a case-by-case basis, injections may be needed multiple times per day.
No treatments — alternative or conventional — can cure diabetes. So it’s critical that people who are using insulin therapy for diabetes don’t stop using insulin unless directed to do so by their physicians.
Once you’ve had your insulin injection, you can’t stop the medicine from working. If you take an insulin shot but forget to eat, your blood sugar levels can get too low. So try to avoid skipping meals or snacks. If your parents remind you to eat when you take your insulin, it’s probably because they worry about you, not because they’re trying to nag you!
Adequate circulation is needed to heal. Poor circulation can make it hard for blood to reach affected areas, slowing down the healing process. If you notice that you’ve had a cut or bruise that is very slow to go away, this could be a sign of high blood sugars.
Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world’s first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.
The Diabetes Prevention Program conducted a randomized clinical trial over three years and found that diabetes incidence in high-risk adults was reduced by 58 percent after they followed intensive lifestyle intervention compared to 31 percent after taking medication (metformin). Both were significantly more impactful at preventing complications compared with taking a placebo or not making lifestyle changes. And the positive changes lasted at least 10 years after the study was done! (5)