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.
  • Control your blood pressure. Your blood pressure should not go over 140/90.
  • 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 healthcare 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 small cell phone that you wear on your belt, in your pocket, or under your clothes. They deliver rapid-acting insulin 24 hours a day through a small flexible tube called a cannula. The cannula is inserted under the skin using a needle. The needle is then removed leaving only the flexible tube under the skin. The pump user replaces the cannula every 2-3 days.

Insulin pump

An insulin pump can deliver insulin 24 hours a day.

It is important for pump users to frequently monitor their glucose levels either with a continuous glucose monitor or a fingerstick monitor. The pump delivers a continuous flow of insulin that can be adjusted if needed for things like exercise and stress. A pump user regularly enters information about their food intake and blood sugar levels into the pump so it can help them calculate insulin doses for food intake and high blood sugar levels.

Benefits of an insulin pump include fewer insulin injections, a more flexible lifestyle, and a more consistent and adjustable delivery of insulin.

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 healthcare provider, 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. 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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