How is diabetes managed?

There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be treated and controlled. The goals of managing diabetes are to:

  • Keep your blood glucose levels as near to normal as possible by balancing food intake with medication and activity.
  • Maintain your blood cholesterol and triglyceride (lipid) levels as near the normal ranges as possible by decreasing the total amount of fat to 30% or less of your total daily calories, and by reducing saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Control your blood pressure. (Your blood pressure should not go over 130/80.)
  • Decrease or possibly prevent the development of diabetes-related health problems.

You hold the keys to managing your diabetes by:

  • Planning what you eat and following a balanced meal plan.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Taking medication, if prescribed, and closely following the guidelines on how and when to take it.
  • Monitoring your blood glucose and blood pressure levels at home.
  • Keeping your appointments with your health care providers and having laboratory tests completed as ordered by your doctor.

What you do at home every day affects your blood glucose more than what your doctor can do every few months during your check-up.

What are insulin pumps?

Insulin pumps are small, computerized devices, about the size of a beeper that you wear on your belt or put in your pocket. They have a small flexible tube with a fine needle on the end. The needle is inserted under the skin of your abdomen and taped in place. The pump releases a carefully measured, steady flow of insulin into the tissue. Insulin pumps can cost $6,000 to $10,000 for the pump, with additional costs for necessary supplies to use the pump.Using a pump means you will have to monitor your blood sugar level at least four times a day. You program doses and make adjustments to your insulin, depending on your food intake and exercise program. Some health care providers prefer the insulin pump over injections because its slow release of insulin imitates a working pancreas.

Can I take both pills and insulin to control my blood sugar?

Yes. The combination of insulin and an oral medication, when taken as directed by your doctor, is very safe and effective in controlling blood sugar. A typical combination therapy consists of taking an oral medication during the day and insulin at night. Once you begin taking insulin, you will need to monitor your blood sugar more often to reduce the risk of low blood sugar reactions.Combination therapies are often helpful for people who have Type 2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes). If you have been taking an oral medication, your doctor may change your treatment plan to include insulin injections. This change is often made to help people with Type 2 diabetes gain better control of their blood sugar.

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