Type 2 diabetes stems from insensitivity to insulin and tends to become progressively more severe over time. There are four types of diabetes treatment available for it:-
• Eating a controlled diet
• Taking medication to increase insulin sensitivity
• Taking insulin to control blood glucose levels
• Weight loss surgery
Many people with type 2 diabetes manage to control it entirely through diet for decades. The most important rule is to choose foods with a low glycaemic index and avoid sugary foods (except in emergencies when blood glucose levels drop too low). A dietician can help you work out how to eat a healthy, balanced diet that follows this rule and still incorporates plenty of foods you enjoy.
Several drugs are available to help increase insulin sensitivity. The most common is called metformin, and is available as a capsule which is best taken with a meal. Everyone is different, however, and it can take time to work out which drug – or combination of drugs – is best for you. You will need to work closely with your doctor on this and keep close track of any side effects.
If you need to take insulin, you can do so by injecting it or by using an insulin pump. Injections can be carried out with a device called an insulin pen which is easy to use and doesn’t cause much discomfort. You doctor or specialist nurse will help you learn how to use it, how to change needles and how to store pen, needles and insulin safely. If you struggle to use it or to successfully control your blood glucose level with it, an insulin pump could be a better option. It’s a small device attached to a length of plastic tube that runs under your skin and deliver a steady dose of insulin to you over time. This can reduce (but not remove) the risk of your blood glucose levels unexpectedly rising too high or dropping too low.
Losing weight is something that helps many people with Type 2 diabetes to control their blood glucose level more effectively. If you struggle to control your weight through diet and exercise, weight loss surgery can be a very effective approach to diabetes treatment. Like all surgery, it carries an element of risk, but most people who receive it find that their insulin dependence decreases afterwards and their glucose levels are more stable.
Whatever form of diabetes treatment you use, you’ll need to monitor your blood glucose level on an ongoing basis in order to make sure it’s working. You can use a blood glucose meter or blood glucose test strips in order to do so. You will also need to visit your doctor for blood tests.
Because diabetes increases the risk of you developing some other health problems, you doctor may advise you to have other tests carried out or take other kinds of medication. You should visit an optician at least once a year to make sure that high blood glucose isn’t damaging your eyes.