Treatments for Diabetes
Diabetes treatment depends on the type and severity of the diabetes. It also involves the treatment of any complications or other associated conditions related to the diabetes. Consult with your doctor or medical specialists about the many issues of treatment.
Treatment Regimes: The overall plan for treatment depends on various factors, but the main options can be summed up as:
- Lifestyle changes. This means eating better and exercising more. Weight loss may be an important goal.
- Diabetes Pills. There are many different types of pills for diabetes, some of which increase insulin production, some of which reduce insulin resistance, and other types.
- Insulin. Usually via insulin injections or an insulin pump.
Combinations of these various aspects are common. And diabetes treatment can change over time as the disease progresses to more severe forms. The progression of diabetes can sometimes be greatly slowed or even stopped if a person is successful at addressing lifestyle issues (e.g. weight control, exercise).
Insulin Required? Patients are often most concerned whether insulin injections will be required. It depends on the type of diabetes.
- Pre-diabetes: should not require insulin. Lifestyle changes are often adequate.
- Type 1 diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes): usually requires insulin immediately, at diagnosis, and usually forever. Sorry!
- Type 2 diabetes: may or may not require insulin at diagnosis, depending on severity. The use of lifestyle changes and diabetes medications is more common than insulin. In the case of Type 2 diabetes where insulin is required at diagnosis, going off insulin and back to pills or lifestyle changes may be possible, depending on various factors. Type 2 diabetics may also progress along the different treatment options: from lifestyle options to pills then to insulin, over the years. Making appropriate lifestyle changes related to weight and exercise can often delay the progression to insulin stages.
Reversing Diabetes? There are many promises of diabetes reversals and diabetes cures. Weight loss and exercise can have an important impact. However, many promises you will see about various substances, herbs, and alternative treatments are simply false. It is important to discuss all options with your doctor.
- Type 2 Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes. The most likely successful method is simply to lose weight and exercise more. This can reduce the severity of diabetes (or pre-diabetes), and thus appear to reverse Type 2 Diabetes or “cure” pre-diabetes. It may be possible to go backwards from insulin back to pills, or from pills back to diet and exercise (for Type 2 Diabetes). This must be done very carefully. Failure to do this properly may result in dangerous potentially fatal complications such as DKA. Take care to discuss any changes with your doctor. Lifestyle changes in diet and exercise can also slow the progression of your Type 2 Diabetes to insulin, or slow your progression from pre-diabetes to full Type 2 Diabetes. However, also note that it is never really a cure, it simply makes the symptoms and complications of your diabetes or pre-diabetes more under control; the disease is dormant, ready to come back or progress if you stop the lifestyle change plan (e.g. if you gain weight, stop exercising).
- Type 1 Diabetes. Lifestyle changes do not reverse Type 1 Diabetes. They are good in that they help with diabetic control and reduce the risk of complications of diabetes, but insulin is still required. None of the various supplements or herbs or alternative cures will remove the need for insulin. Going off insulin due to promises of some alternative treatment to insulin is a good way to end up in hospital with DKA. Discuss all treatment options with your doctor, especially any changes to your insulin treatment plans.
- Gestational Diabetes. Fortunately, this form of diabetes in pregnant women usually disappears reasonably soon after the birth of the child. However, having gestational diabetes during a pregnancy is a strong indication that you are at risk of pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes in later life. Controlling gestational diabetes is important during the pregnancy for the health of both the mother and baby. Discuss treatment options with your doctor.
Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.