Managing Diabetes Requires Proper Diet and Health Care
In 1921 the ability to manage the effects of diabetes was finally realized
with the discovery insulin and the understanding of how the body uses it to
transport glucose into the cells for energy. Up until then anyone diagnosed
with diabetes normally died within a few years. Insulin gave diabetics a way
to manage their disease long term but it is not considered a cure for this
As medical research has gained a better understanding of this disease
managing its affects has progressed to the point that type 1 diabetics can
live a long and fruitful life. Insulin, a healthy diet, and regular exercise
are all part of a successful management regimen. Blood glucose monitors
allow the diabetic to closely monitor their blood glucose levels and make
necessary adjustments to their insulin and dietary needs.
Several times a year a laboratory test called A1C is used to monitor blood
glucose levels over a longer period of time. The A1C test gives a 2 to 3
month average of blood glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes is a managed a little differently from type 1 in that it is
more of a lifestyle disease then something someone is born with. With the
increasing obesity epidemic more and more people are being diagnosed with
this form of the disease. A healthy diet and exercise routine with the
primary goal of losing weight along with blood glucose testing are the
primary management tools. This can also be partnered with oral medications
and/or insulin depending on the needs of the patient.
Any adult diabetic is at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Heart
disease and strokes are responsible for killing 65 percent of all those
diagnosed with diabetes. This why management of this disease is so
important; it is much more then just monitoring blood glucose. Blood
pressure and cholesterol also needs to be tracked and managed through diet,
exercise, and medications if needed.
The ultimate responsibility for managing this disease falls on the person
with the diabetes. Monitoring their glucose levels throughout the day allows
them to keep their blood sugar levels from going to high or low; conditions
known as hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, both of which can be very
Another cog in the diabetes management tree is the primary care physician.
This primary doctor will help them learn how to manage their disease and
help them monitor how well their management regimen is working. The primary
care provider can also point the diabetic to a variety of specialists who
can help them further manage their condition.
These can include an endocrinologist who is a doctor that specializes in the
treatment of diabetes. Dieticians and nurses who specialize in diabetic care
can also be a valuable resource. A podiatrist, a doctor who specializes in
foot care, and an ophthalmologist for eye care are also an important part of
managing the affects of diabetes.
Pregnant women with either type of diabetes should be seen by an
obstetrician who specializes in taking care of women with this disease. This
is true in cases of gestational diabetes as well; during birth a
pediatrician experienced in caring for babies of diabetics should also be
Keeping blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels in the normal
range is the ultimate goal of any diabetes management regimen. The National
Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) conducted a
major 10 year study called the Diabetes and Complications Trial (DCCT) that
concluded in 1993. The findings showed the chances of major complications
arising from diabetes were significantly reduced if blood glucose levels
were kept close to normal.
The key to successfully managing diabetes is following the dietary,
exercise, and medical management plan outlined by the diabetics health care
team. Keeping blood glucose levels under control is essential to ensuring a
long and healthy life.