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Is Insulin The Only Treatment For Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes: How Is It Treated?

Type 1 Diabetes: How Is It Treated?

KidsHealth / For Teens / Type 1 Diabetes: How Is It Treated? en espaolDiabetes tipo 1: Cul es el tratamiento? Your teachers follow a lesson plan that outlines what you'll study each day. Your parents may have a plan to help you pay for college. And your weekend social plans determine whether you're seeing a movie, heading to a concert, or playing basketball at the gym. People with type 1 diabetes need to follow a different type of plan. A treatment plan, also called a diabetes management plan, helps people to manage their diabetes and stay healthy and active. Everyone's plan is different, based on a person's health needs and the suggestions of the diabetes health care team. The first thing to understand when it comes to treating diabetes is your blood glucose level, which is the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose isa sugar that comes from the foods we eat and also is formed and stored inside the body. It's the main source of energy for the cells of the body, and is carried to each cell through the blood. Glucose gets into the cells with the help of the hormone insulin . So how do blood glucose levels relate to type 1 diabetes? People with type 1 diabetes can no longer produce insulin. This means that glucose stays in the bloodstream and doesn't get into the cells, causing blood glucose levels to go too high. High blood sugar levels can make people with type 1 diabetes feel sick, so their treatment plan involves keeping their blood sugar levels within a healthy range, while making sure they grow and develop normally. To do that, people with type 1 diabetes need to: eat a healthy, balanced diet and stick to a diabetes meal plan check their blood sugar levels several times a day Following the treatment plan can help a person stay healthy, but it's not a cure for diab Continue reading >>

12 Myths About Insulin And Type 2 Diabetes

12 Myths About Insulin And Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin facts vs. fiction When you hear the word “insulin,” do you picture giant needles (ouch!) or pop culture portrayals of insulin users with low blood sugar (like Julia Roberts losing it in Steel Magnolias)? Either way, most people think of insulin as a difficult, painful, or potentially scary medical treatment. The problem is that if you have type 2 diabetes, you need to know the real deal before you can make an informed choice about whether or not this potentially lifesaving therapy is right for you. Here, we take a look at the facts and fiction about insulin when it comes to treating type 2 diabetes. Diabetics always need insulin Not necessarily. People with type 1 diabetes (about 5% to 10% of diabetics) do need insulin. If you have type 2, which includes 90% to 95% of all people with diabetes, you may not need insulin. Of adults with diabetes, only 14% use insulin, 13% use insulin and oral medication, 57% take oral medication only, and 16% control blood sugar with diet and exercise alone, according to the CDC. The point is to get blood sugar—which can be a highly toxic poison in the body—into the safe zone by any means necessary. Taking insulin means you’ve ‘failed’ “This is a big myth,” says Jill Crandall, MD, professor of clinical medicine and director of the diabetes clinical trial unit at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in the Bronx, N.Y. “Many people who try very hard to adhere to a diet, exercise, and lose weight will still need insulin.” The fact is that type 2 diabetes is a progressive illness, meaning that over time you may need to change what you do to make sure your blood sugar is in a healthy range. Eating right and exercise will always be important, but medication needs can vary. “A large percentage of people with ty Continue reading >>

Type 2 Diabetes Faqs

Type 2 Diabetes Faqs

Common questions about type 2 diabetes: How do you treat type 2 diabetes? When you have type 2 diabetes, you first need to eat a healthy diet, stay physically active and lose any extra weight. If these lifestyle changes cannot control your blood sugar, you also may need to take pills and other injected medication, including insulin. Eating a healthy diet, being physically active, and losing any extra weight is the first line of therapy. “Diet and exercise“ is the foundation of all diabetes management because it makes your body’s cells respond better to insulin (in other words, it decreases insulin resistance) and lowers blood sugar levels. If you cannot normalize or control the blood sugars with diet, weight loss and exercise, the next treatment phase is taking medicine either orally or by injection. Diabetes pills work in different ways – some lower insulin resistance, others slow the digestion of food or increase insulin levels in the blood stream. The non-insulin injected medications for type 2 diabetes have a complicated action but basically lower blood glucose after eating. Insulin therapy simply increases insulin in the circulation. Don’t be surprised if you have to use multiple medications to control the blood sugar. Multiple medications, also known as combination therapy is common in the treatment of diabetes! If one medication is not enough, you medical provider may give you two or three or more different types of pills. Insulin or other injected medications also may be prescribed. Or, depending on your medical condition, you may be treated only with insulin or injected medication therapy. Many people with type 2 diabetes have elevated blood fats (high triglycerides and cholesterol) and blood pressure, so you may be given medications for these problem Continue reading >>

Diabetes Drugs You Inject That Aren't Insulin

Diabetes Drugs You Inject That Aren't Insulin

Insulin isn't the only type of injectable diabetes medicine your doctor might prescribe for you. Other drugs include: Albiglutide (Tanzeum) What it is: It's a man-made version of a hormone called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1). Your intestines normally release this substance when you eat. It helps control your blood sugar. Who can take it: Adults who have type 2 diabetes and haven’t had success with other treatment. If you're planning to get pregnant, talk with your doctor, since researchers haven't studied albiglutide in pregnant women. What it does: After you eat, albiglutide helps your pancreas release insulin, which moves blood sugar (glucose) into your cells. It also limits how much of the hormone glucagon your body makes. This substance spurs your liver to release stored sugar. The drug also slows down digestion. Side effects: The most common ones are upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, nausea, and skin reactions where you give yourself the shot. All GLP-1 drugs, including albiglutide, have a boxed warning noting that in animal studies, this type of drug has been linked to thyroid cancer in some rats and mice. Experts don't know whether it has the same effect in people, though. Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which may be severe, is another side effect. Exenatide (Bydureon, Byetta) What it is: Exenatide was the first GLP-1 drug approved by the FDA. Byetta came first. You take it as a shot twice daily. Bydureon is the newer, extended-release version, which you inject once a week. You can't take both drugs. Who can take it: Adults with type 2 diabetes for whom other treatment hasn't worked. If you think you might get pregnant, talk to your doctor. Researchers haven't studied this drug in pregnant women. What it does: Like other GLP-1 drugs, Continue reading >>

Should I Use Diabetes Pills Or Insulin?

Should I Use Diabetes Pills Or Insulin?

Diabetes affects the way your body breaks down food. Treatment depends on which type of diabetes you have. In type 1 diabetes, your pancreas stops producing insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate glucose, or sugar, in your blood. Type 2 diabetes starts with insulin resistance. Your pancreas no longer produces enough insulin or doesn’t use it efficiently. Every cell in your body uses glucose for energy. If insulin isn’t doing its job, glucose builds up in your blood. This causes a condition called hyperglycemia. Low blood glucose is called hypoglycemia. Both can lead to serious complications. A variety of pills are available to treat diabetes, but they can’t help everyone. They only work if your pancreas still produces some insulin. They can’t treat type 1 diabetes. They aren’t effective in people with type 2 diabetes when the pancreas has stopped making insulin. Some people with type 2 diabetes can benefit from using both pills and insulin. Some pills to treat diabetes include: Biguanides Metformin (Glucophage, Fortamet, Riomet, Glumetza) is a biguanide. It lowers the amount of glucose in your liver and boosts insulin sensitivity. It may also improve cholesterol levels and might help you lose a little weight. People normally take it twice per day with meals. You can take the extended-release version once per day. Potential side effects include: upset stomach nausea bloating gas diarrhea a temporary loss of appetite It may also cause lactic acidosis in people with kidney failure, but this is rare. Sulfonylureas Sulfonylureas are fast-acting medications that help the pancreas release insulin after meals. They include: People usually take these medications once per day with a meal. Potential side effects include: irritability low blood glucose upset st Continue reading >>

Insulin Therapy For Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin Therapy For Type 2 Diabetes

A number of landmark randomized clinical trials established that insulin therapy reduces microvascular complications (1,2). In addition, recent follow-up data from the U.K. Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) suggest that early insulin treatment also lowers macrovascular risk in type 2 diabetes (3). Whereas there is consensus on the need for insulin, controversy exists on how to initiate and intensify insulin therapy. The options for the practical implementation of insulin therapy are many. In this presentation, we will give an overview of the evidence on the various insulin regimens commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes. Secondary analyses of the aforementioned landmark trials endeavored to establish a glycemic threshold value below which no complications would occur. The UKPDS found no evidence for such a threshold for A1C, but instead showed that better glycemic control was associated with reduced risks of complications over the whole glycemic range (“the lower the better”) (4). For the management of type 2 diabetes, this resulted in the recommendation to “maintain glycemic levels as close to the nondiabetic range as possible” (5). However, in contrast to the UKPDS, the Kumamoto study observed a threshold, with no exacerbation of microvascular complications in patients with type 2 diabetes whose A1C was <6.5%, suggesting no additional benefit in lowering A1C below this level (2). Moreover, the intensive glycemia treatment arm of the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) study, targeting A1C <6.0%, was discontinued because of higher mortality in this group compared with the standard therapy group targeting A1C from 7.0 to 7.9% (6). Therefore, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendation of an A1C target <7.0% seems the most balan Continue reading >>

Type 2 Diabetes: How Is It Treated?

Type 2 Diabetes: How Is It Treated?

KidsHealth / For Teens / Type 2 Diabetes: How Is It Treated? en espaolDiabetes tipo 2: Cul es el tratamiento? Has your teacher ever assigned you a huge paper or project due at the end of the semester or term? If so, you probably know the value of a plan. Making a plan that tells you when you'll research and write your material or conduct your experiments is important so you don't spend the last week before the deadline worrying about how you'll get it all done. People with type 2 diabetes need to follow a different type of plan. A treatment plan, also called a diabetes management plan, helps them manage their diabetes and stay healthy and active. Treatment plans are based on a person's individual health needs and the suggestions of the diabetes health care team . The first thing to understand when it comes to treating diabetes is your blood glucose level, which is just what it sounds like the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose isa sugar that comes from the foods we eat and also is formed and stored inside the body. It's the main source of energy for the cells of the body, and is carried to each cell through the blood. Glucose gets into the cells with the help of the hormone insulin . So how do blood glucose levels relate to type 2 diabetes? People with type 2 diabetes don't respond normally to insulin anymore, so glucose stays in the bloodstream and doesn't get into the cells. This causes blood glucose levels to go too high. High blood sugar levels can make teens with type 2 diabetes feel sick, so their treatment plan involves keeping their blood sugar levels within a healthy range while making sure they grow and develop normally. To do that, they need to: eat a healthy, balanced diet and follow a meal plan The good news is that sticking to the plan can help peopl Continue reading >>

Insulin For Type 2 Diabetes: When, Why, And How

Insulin For Type 2 Diabetes: When, Why, And How

Blood sugar control is one of the most important parts of type 2 diabetes management. Although you may be able to treat the condition at first with oral medication and lifestyle changes, such as exercise and weight loss, most people with type 2 diabetes eventually need to take insulin by injection. "There are several scenarios in which insulin treatment should start, including in patients with significant hyperglycemia who are symptomatic," explained Alaleh Mazhari, DO, an associate professor of endocrinology at Loyola Medicine in Maywood, Illinois. "In these cases, the need for insulin may be short-term. Other situations include patients who are on multiple diabetic medications with uncontrolled diabetes, and uncontrolled diabetes in pregnancy, to name a few." Here's what you need to know about taking insulin in the short term and the long term. Insulin for Short-Term Blood Sugar Control Doctors use a blood test called a hemoglobin A1C test to measure average blood sugar control over a two- to three-month period. The treatment target for most people with diabetes is an A1C of 7 percent or less; those with higher levels may need a more intensive medication plan. "The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends starting a person with type 2 diabetes on insulin if their A1C is above 9 percent and they have symptoms," said Mazhari. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include thirst, hunger, frequent urination, and weight loss. Research published in February 2013 in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology reviewed several studies that focused on the temporary use of insulin to restore sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. The results showed that a two- to five-week course of short-term intensive insulin therapy (IIT) can induce remission in patients Continue reading >>

Insulin, Medicines, & Other Diabetes Treatments

Insulin, Medicines, & Other Diabetes Treatments

Taking insulin or other diabetes medicines is often part of treating diabetes. Along with healthy food choices and physical activity, medicine can help you manage the disease. Some other treatment options are also available. What medicines might I take for diabetes? The medicine you take will vary by your type of diabetes and how well the medicine controls your blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar. Other factors, such as your other health conditions, medication costs, and your daily schedule may play a role in what diabetes medicine you take. Type 1 diabetes If you have type 1 diabetes, you must take insulin because your body no longer makes this hormone. You will need to take insulin several times during the day, including with meals. You also could use an insulin pump, which gives you small, steady doses throughout the day. Type 2 diabetes Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their disease by making healthy food choices and being more physically active. Many people with type 2 diabetes need diabetes medicines as well. These medicines may include diabetes pills or medicines you inject under your skin, such as insulin. In time, you may need more than one diabetes medicine to control your blood glucose. Even if you do not take insulin, you may need it at special times, such as during pregnancy or if you are in the hospital. Gestational diabetes If you have gestational diabetes, you should first try to control your blood glucose level by making healthy food choices and getting regular physical activity. If you can’t reach your blood glucose target, your health care team will talk with you about diabetes medicines, such as insulin or the diabetes pill metformin, that may be safe for you to take during pregnancy. Your health care team may start you on diab Continue reading >>

Insulin For Type 2 Diabetes: Who, When, And Why?

Insulin For Type 2 Diabetes: Who, When, And Why?

Physicians who treat people with type 2 diabetes face difficult choices when selecting the best medical therapy for each patient. The decision process is further complicated by the fact that because type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, therapeutic agents that were initially successful may fail five or ten years later. As recently as 1994, there were only two options for patients with type 2 diabetes: insulin and the sulfonylureas (such as glyburide and glipizide). The good news is that today, seven totally different classes of medications are available, as well as much better insulins. The bad news is that many physicians are more confused than ever, especially when faced with the option of combining two, three, or even more drugs at one time. In addition, the past several years have seen the advent of six combination drugs (such as Glucovance, Avandamet, and Janumet), with more on the way. Faced with this explosion of therapeutic options, many physicians are reluctant to start insulin therapy even when it is clearly indicated. Insulin Resistance and Deficiency in Type 2 Diabetes Most patients with type 2 diabetes suffer from two major defects: insulin resistance and beta cell “burnout.” Insulin resistance typically precedes outright diabetes by several years, appearing in adults and children who are overweight, sedentary, and have a genetic predisposition to diabetes. Patients with insulin resistance are often diagnosed with the metabolic syndrome, which predisposes them to both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. When food is ingested, insulin is secreted by the beta cells into the bloodstream. The insulin travels to the liver or muscles, where it attaches to receptors on the surface of the cells like a key in a lock. In non-diabetic people, this proc Continue reading >>

New Diabetes Treatment Could Eliminate Need For Insulin Injections

New Diabetes Treatment Could Eliminate Need For Insulin Injections

A cell-based diabetes treatment has been developed by scientists who say it could eliminate the need for those with the condition to inject insulin. The therapy involves a capsule of genetically engineered cells implanted under the skin that automatically release insulin as required. Diabetic mice that were treated with the cells were found to have normal blood sugar levels for several weeks. Scientists said they hope to obtain a clinical trial licence to test the technology in patients within two years. If successful, the treatment would be relevant for all type 1 diabetes patients, as well as those cases of type 2 diabetes that require insulin injections. Martin Fussenegger, who led the research at the ETH university in Basel, said: “By 2040, every tenth human on the planet will suffer from some kind of diabetes, that’s dramatic. We should be able to do a lot better than people measuring their glucose.” Fussenegger said that, if confirmed as safe and effective in humans, diabetes patients could be given an implant that would need to be replaced three times a year rather than injections, which do not perfectly control blood sugar levels, leading to long-term complications including eye, nerve and heart damage. In Britain, about 400,000 people have type 1 diabetes and three million have type 2 diabetes, about 10% of whom need to inject insulin to control the condition. Type 1 diabetes normally begins in childhood and is an autoimmune disease in which the body kills off all its pancreatic beta cells. The cells respond to the body’s fluctuating glucose levels by releasing insulin, which regulates blood sugar. Without beta cells, patients need to monitor glucose and inject insulin as required – typically several times each day. Previously, scientists have attempt Continue reading >>

Patient Education: Diabetes Mellitus Type 2: Insulin Treatment (beyond The Basics)

Patient Education: Diabetes Mellitus Type 2: Insulin Treatment (beyond The Basics)

TYPE 2 DIABETES OVERVIEW Type 2 diabetes mellitus occurs when the pancreas (an organ in the abdomen) produces insufficient amounts of the hormone insulin and/or the body's tissues become resistant to normal or even high levels of insulin. This causes high blood glucose (sugar) levels, which can lead to a number of complications if untreated. People with type 2 diabetes require regular monitoring and ongoing treatment to maintain normal or near-normal blood sugar levels. Treatment includes lifestyle adjustments, self-care measures, and medications, which can minimize the risk of diabetes-related and cardiovascular complications (eg, heart attacks and strokes). Learning to manage diabetes is a process that continues over a lifetime. The diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming at the beginning; however, most people are able to lead normal lives, and many patients become experts in their own care. This topic review discusses the role of insulin in blood sugar control for patients with type 2 diabetes. Separate topic reviews about other aspects of type 2 diabetes are also available. (See "Patient education: Diabetes mellitus type 2: Overview (Beyond the Basics)" and "Patient education: Self-monitoring of blood glucose in diabetes mellitus (Beyond the Basics)" and "Patient education: Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in diabetes mellitus (Beyond the Basics)" and "Patient education: Diabetes mellitus type 2: Alcohol, exercise, and medical care (Beyond the Basics)" and "Patient education: Preventing complications in diabetes mellitus (Beyond the Basics)".) IMPORTANCE OF BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL IN TYPE 2 DIABETES Keeping blood sugar levels in control is one way to decrease the risk of complications related to type 2 diabetes. The most common complication of type 2 diabetes is heart d Continue reading >>

Type 2 Diabetes And Insulin

Type 2 Diabetes And Insulin

People with type 2 diabetes do not always have to take insulin right away; that is more common in people with type 1 diabetes. The longer someone has type 2 diabetes, the more likely they will require insulin. Just as in type 1 diabetes, insulin is a way to control your blood glucose level. With type 2 diabetes, though, dietary changes, increasing physical activity, and some oral medications are usually enough to bring your blood glucose to a normal level. To learn about how the hormone insulin works, we have an article that explains the role of insulin. There are several reasons people with type 2 diabetes may want to use insulin: It can quickly bring your blood glucose level down to a healthier range. If your blood glucose level is excessively high when you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the doctor may have you use insulin to lower your blood glucose level—in a way that’s much faster than diet and exercise. Insulin will give your body a respite; it (and especially the beta cells that produce insulin) has been working overtime to try to bring down your blood glucose level. In this scenario, you’d also watch what you eat and exercise, but having your blood glucose under better control may make it easier to adjust to those lifestyle changes. It has fewer side effects than some of the medications: Insulin is a synthetic version of a hormone our bodies produce. Therefore, it interacts with your body in a more natural way than medications do, leading to fewer side effects. The one side effect is hypoglycemia. It can be cheaper. Diabetes medications can be expensive, although there is an array of options that try to cater to people of all economic levels. However, insulin is generally cheaper than medications (on a monthly basis), especially if the doctor wants yo Continue reading >>

Managing Diabetes Without Insulin – Is It Possible?

Managing Diabetes Without Insulin – Is It Possible?

It is widely believed that those with Type 2 diabetes may eventually need insulin if they have diabetes for long enough. However, only about 20-30 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes end up needing insulin injections. In this article, we will explore whether it is possible to manage your diabetes without insulin. If so, how can one do so and when they may eventually need insulin if other treatments do not work out? 1 Type 1 Diabetes disclaimer This article is not for people with Type 1 diabetes because it is imperative that people with Type 1 diabetes require insulin every day without question. A person with Type 1 diabetes produces very little, or no insulin. Without insulin, you cannot convert food into usable energy. Simply put, without insulin, a person with Type 1 diabetes cannot survive. 2 When Robert contacted TheDiabetesCouncil, he was concerned that one day he would have to take insulin shots for his Type 2 diabetes. He had heard a few of his friends with diabetes at church talking about how they had to take insulin injections. Robert was “afraid of needles,” and the thought of giving himself a shot scared him. Is Robert going to need to start taking insulin, or is there any way he can avoid it at this point? If he avoids it, what effects would this have on his health? Will he develop long term complications of diabetes if he doesn’t start giving himself shots of insulin? I suggest also reading these: At TheDiabetesCouncil, we decided to take a look at this particular question in depth, for Robert and for others with diabetes who might benefit from reading this information. Insulin isn’t the “bad guy.” Naturally, the fear of giving oneself an injection or “shot,” can increase anxiety and stress. But what if I told you that once you get past t Continue reading >>

Alternatives To Insulin Injections

Alternatives To Insulin Injections

In most cases of feline diabetes, insulin is the treatment of choice. The thought of giving insulin injections daily is a scary prospect for many cat owners. As a result, if your cat is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, you may be wondering if there is an alternative to treating with insulin. There may be other treatment options that are worth exploring in a situation where your cat's personality is not conducive to receiving daily or twice daily injections of insulin or where you are physically incapable of giving the insulin injections. Oral hypoglycemic medications such as glipizide and acarbose are one such option. These medications act to help lower the blood glucose levels. They are given by mouth and are most effective for cats with mild diabetes. They are effective for some, but not all, diabetic cats. Strictly Controlled Diet as Possible Alternative A strictly controlled diet can be useful in controlling the blood glucose levels of cats with diabetes. Diet by itself may or may not be completely effective, and it is most likely to work for cats that do not have severe diabetes. The most commonly recommended food for a cat with diabetes is a diet containing high levels of protein and low levels of carbohydrates. Canned cat foods are preferred if commercial diets are used (as opposed to kibble or dry food). A high protein, low carbohydrate diet can be combined with one of the oral hypoglycemic medications to further help regulate your cat's blood glucose levels. It is possible that this may be more effective than using diet or medication alone. Other Considerations in the Treatment of Diabetic Cats Another important consideration in treating a cat with diabetes, especially if the disease is caught early, is that remission is possible in many cases, if regulation o Continue reading >>

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