Modern Treatment Options for Diabetes Patients
It is important for anyone who has diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, to understand the daily management of this serious disease. By learning about lifestyle changes and the clinical management of diabetes, we can work together with patients for improved health.
- Diabetes patients need to learn how to monitor their blood glucose. Daily testing will help determine how well their meal plan, activity plan, and medication are working to keep blood glucose levels in a normal range.
- Diabetes patients need to have a meal (nutrition) plan.
- Diabetes patients need to pay attention to their physical activity level. Physical activity can help the body use insulin better so it can convert glucose into energy for cells.
- Diabetes patients with type 1 diabetes, and some with type 2 diabetes, also need to take insulin injections.
- Some diabetes patients with type 2 diabetes take pills called "oral agents" which help their bodies produce more insulin and/or use the insulin it is producing better.
- Some diabetes patients with type 2 diabetes can manage their disease without medication by appropriate meal planning and adequate physical activity.
- Diabetes patients should be seen at least once every six months by a diabetes specialist (an endocrinologist or a diabetologist). He or she should also be seen periodically by other members of a diabetes treatment team, including a diabetes nurse educator and a dietitian who will help develop a meal plan for the individual.
- Ideally, diabetes patients should also see an exercise physiologist for help in developing a physical activity plan, and perhaps, a social worker, psychologist or other mental health professional for help with the stresses and challenges of living with a chronic disease.
- Diabetes patients should have regular eye exams (once a year) by an ophthalmologist to make sure that any eye problems associated with diabetes are caught early and treated before they become serious.
Poorly managed diabetes can lead to many long-term complications, including:
- Heart attack
- Kidney failure
- Blood vessel disease that may require an amputation
- Nerve damage
- Impotence in men
Visit a Diabetes Specialist in Your Neighborhood
To Find a Physician who can help you manage your diabetes, click here or call our physician referral services line at 1-855-823-WELL. To find out more about our Diabetes Services, call 202-269-7128.