Type 1 diabetes is treated by insulin injections and a healthy diet, and regular exercise is recommended. Insulin cannot be taken by mouth because it is destroyed by the digestive juices in the stomach. People with this type of diabetes commonly take either two or four injections of insulin each day.
Type 2 diabetes is treated with lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet, weight loss and increased physical activity. Tablets and/or insulin may also be required to achieve normal blood glucose levels. There are several kinds of tablets for people with Type 2 diabetes. Some kinds help your pancreas to produce more insulin. Other kinds help your body to make better use of the insulin that your pancreas does produce. Another type of tablet slows down the speed at which the body absorbs glucose from the intestine. Your doctor will decide with you which kinds of tablet are best for you and may prescribe more than one kind. Type 2 diabetes is progressive. If your diabetes cannot be controlled through lifestyle changes and tablets your doctor may recommend that you take insulin injections in the end.
The main aim of treatment of both types of diabetes is to achieve blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels as near to normal as possible. This, together with a healthy lifestyle, will help to improve wellbeing and protect against long-term damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and major arteries.
Being diagnosed with diabetes means that looking after your health has become even more important.
Being active is good for all of us but is especially important for people with diabetes. Physical activity, combined with healthy eating, will help you to manage your diabetes and prevent long-term diabetic complications.
Monitoring your health when you have diabetes is crucial to preventing some of the complications associated with diabetes. This involves knowing your blood glucose, blood pressure and blood fat levels as well as the condition of your feet and getting your eyes screened for retinopathy.
Foot problems can affect anyone who has diabetes. Diabetes, particularly if it is poorly controlled, can damage your nerves, muscles, sweat glands and circulation in the feet and legs.
By keeping your blood glucose, blood fats and blood pressure under control you can help to prevent some of the complications associated with the feet of people with diabetes.
People with diabetes are at risk of developing a complication called retinopathy. This affects the blood vessels supplying the retina, the seeing part of the eye. Blood vessels in the retina of the eye can become blocked, leaky or grow haphazardly. This damage gets in the way of the light passing through to the retina and if left untreated can damage vision.
Keeping blood glucose and blood pressure under control will help to reduce the risk of developing retinopathy. But, it is important that you attend an eye screening when you are first diagnosed and then every year after that.