A diabetes diagnosis is scary. However, your health care team will work with you to put in place the proper lifestyle and medical treatments in order to restore blood glucose balance so your body can properly metabolize sugar into energy.
While many new diabetes patients may assume they can’t ever eat sugar again, that’s not entirely true. The body requires health sugars (or carbohydrates) in the foods we eat to provide cellular energy, support muscular tissue growth, and to fuel the brain. Of course, every single body is different, so your doctor may implement a combination of the following treatments to help you process sugar for energy more in the most optimal way possible:
1. Healthy eating
Assessing diet is often first considered in type 2 diabetes treatment. Considering food is the main source of energy, your doctor recommend a nutritionist or dietician to help you keep your blood sugar within a healthy range. This will involve regular monitoring of your carbohydrate intake through portion control, cutting out processed and refined sugars, and including more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and complex carbohydrates in your diet.
2. Daily exercise
Exercise should be part of a diabetics every day. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (i.e., walking, yoga, swimming, cycling) can help improve sleep, mood, increase energy, and help you maintain a healthy body weight.
3. Blood sugar monitoring
The daily monitoring of your blood sugar levels can be safely and simply done by patients at home. Follow your doctor’s recommendations and check and record your blood sugar level as required to ensure it remains within your target range. Your health care team can teach you how your blood sugar levels alter in response to what you eat, what you drink, physical activity, illness, and any medications you take.
4. Type 2 diabetes medications
Many type II diabetics can manage blood sugar levels thanks to diet and exercise alone. However, many patients require the aid of diabetes medication. Your doctor may prescribe one or a combination of the following class drugs to control blood sugar:
- Meglitinides (or Starlix, Prandin) stimulate the pancreas to secrete more insulin.
- Sulfonylureas (or Glucotrol, Amaryl), which triggers the body to secrete more insulin.
- Metformin (or Glumetza) and thiazolidinediones (Actos, Avandia) to improve insulin efficiency and lower glucose production in the liver.
- SGLT2 inhibitors (Farxiga, Invokana) prevent the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar into the blood, by excreting sugars via urine.
- GLP-1 receptor agonists (Victoza and Byetta), which slow digestion and in turn lower blood sugar levels.
- DPP-4 inhibitors (Tradjenta, Onglyza) to reduce blood sugar levels modestly.
5. Insulin therapy
In the past, doctors used insulin therapy when other diabetes treatments were ineffective, however, new research suggests benefits to certain patients when insulin is injected vs. taken by oral tablet. Insulin therapy is administered at scheduled times throughout the day and at night, or administered via a single, long-acting shot taken once daily. Insulin therapy is injected using an insulin pen injector containing a insulin cartridge.