Diabetes Mellitus is a condition wherein you have increased glucose in your blood due to a deficiency in insulin and an unhealthy lifestyle, which may lead to several diabetes complications if not treated early. These complications include peripheral neuropathies, skin problems, hypertension and even death.
A complete turnaround in lifestyle is needed for a long term treatment of diabetes mellitus. Blood glucose levels should be maintained within normal limits everyday, thus it has to be monitored regularly. Here are several treatments available for patients with Diabetes Mellitus.
1. Blood glucose monitoring
Measuring your blood glucose everyday is a painful task since you have to draw blood from yourself every time you try to find out your blood glucose levels. This test is vital in the treatment of diabetes since it will indicate just how much carbohydrate intake you need to sustain your body, without aggravating the sickness further.
Normal values for blood glucose levels in patients without complications are 80 to 120 mg/dL for fasting blood glucose and lower than 180 mg/dL after meals. For the patients already with complications, they have a fasting blood glucose of 100 to 140 mg/dL and at least 200 mg/dL an hour after eating. Blood sugar should also be monitored for a sudden drop in levels which may also lead to systemic shock of the patient.
There are several factors that affect blood sugar levels.
The amount of calories taken from the carbohydrates in the food that you eat will determine the levels of blood glucose. It usually peaks after an hour or two after meals and then should go down again after a couple more hours.
b. Physical activity and exercise
An increase in physical activity can lower blood sugar since it triggers your cells to produce more energy from glucose to supply the body's increasing needs. Aerobic exercises help decrease blood glucose levels in controlled levels but a increase in doing household chores and work can actually bring down your blood sugar to dangerous levels.
Insulin is prescribed especially for type 1 diabetes patients who have a lack of this hormone in their blood as well as type 2 diabetes patients who have a hard time controlling their blood sugar levels. But some medications such as those for hypertension and cholesterol when taken with insulin may lead to an increase blood sugar levels. Mention to your doctor all medications that you are taking so as to be able to let him prescribe the right medication for you.
d. Stress in Illness
Stress due to an underlying illness may also affect your blood glucose levels since it triggers other factors which may decrease or increase levels of blood sugar. Having a fever can decrease blood sugar levels, thus intake of insulin should be monitored so as to maintain the levels of blood glucose within normal limits.
e. Alcohol Intake
Any amount of alcohol will trigger an erratic response in the levels of blood sugar. Even just a small amount may lead to a change in blood sugar since it contributes to an increase in the calorie intake from carbohydrates.
2. Having a healthy and well-balanced diet
The diet of a diabetic patient is limited to the number of calories they have to take in order to keep their blood sugar levels in check. This does not necessarily mean that the food that you eat should have no taste and appeal. It just means that the patient should learn to eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables instead of unhealthy junk foods and fast foods. These healthy foods are high in nutrition and yet give a little amount of calories and fat, allowing you to have your fill of it. But of course, anything in excess is always detrimental to ones health.
3. Regular Exercise
Regular exercise is not only beneficial in lowering down blood sugar levels but of other substances such as cholesterol and triglycerides. It is also good for the normal functioning of the heart and lungs. Consult your health provider first before undergoing any exercise regimen so as to be able to monitor your blood sugar levels from going below and giving you hyperglycemia. Any type of sport such as jogging, tennis, and swimming can help lower sugar levels as well as increase your body's health. You can have minimum of thirty minutes of activity everyday which you may increase as your body becomes accustomed to it.
4. Weight within normal limits
Falling within the weight range of obese and overweight people is commonly seen in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Fat makes your cells resist insulin thus increasing blood sugar. Losing weight and fat will make them receptive to this hormone, thus further decreasing daily blood sugar levels. Sometimes, all it takes to treat diabetes is just to lose weight. Consult your health expert as to the right way to lose weight.
Medications are prescribed when diet and exercise is not enough to control the blood sugar levels. Mainly, it is insulin that is given to lower blood sugar levels down. Insulin is given intramuscularly, through insulin injections or an insulin pump. This is a small device that pumps the needed insulin into the body without the hassle and pain of injection. But this is not prescribed for everyone. Other medications include sulfonylurea drugs which try to stimulate the production of insulin by the pancreas, Meglitinides, Biguanides, Metformin or commonly known as Glucophage, Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors that act on the digestive enzymes for carbohydrates by inhibiting them and regulating the entry of sugar into the blood stream, thiazolidinediones that makes the cells more receptive to insulin and the stops the liver from releasing excessive amounts of glucose, and the combination of several drugs in order to control blood sugar in the best possible way.
An invasive type of treatment for diabetes mellitus is the exchange of some vital organs that are responsible in regulating blood glucose levels. These are still in their testing stages although results have been promising in some patients. These are pancreas transplantation, which is usually done with a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, it is not a hundred percent successful. Another type is the Islet cell transplantation which is less invasive and deals with the cells in the liver rather than in the pancreas.
The treatment of diabetes mellitus is extensive and sometimes expensive. It also requires your full cooperation in trying to change your whole lifestyle and outlook to a healthier one in order to keep your diabetes under control. Without this, nothing will happen.