Type 1 diabetes
Treatment almost always involves the daily injection of insulin, usually a combination of short-acting insulin such as regular or Lispro or Aspart insulin and a longer-acting insulin such as NPH, lente, glargine, detemir, or ultralente insulins.
* Insulin must be given as an injection. If taken by mouth, insulin would be destroyed in the stomach before it could get into the blood where it is needed.
* Most people with type 1 diabetes give these injections to themselves. Even if someone else usually gives you your injections, it is important that you know how to do it in case the other person is not available.
* A trained professional will show you how to store and inject the insulin. Usually this is a nurse who works with the health care provider or a diabetes educator.
* Insulin is usually given in 2 or 3 injections per day, generally around mealtimes. Dosage is individual and is tailored to suit the person. Longer acting insulins are typically administered 1 or 2 times per day.
* It is very important to eat if you have taken insulin, as the insulin will lower your blood sugar regardless of whether you have eaten. If you take insulin without eating, you could have hypoglycemia. This is called an insulin reaction.
* There is an adjustment period while you learn how insulin affects you and how to time your mealtimes and exercise times with your insulin injections to keep your blood sugar level as even as possible.
* Keeping accurate records of your blood sugar levels and insulin dosages is crucial in helping your health care provider take care of your diabetes.
* Eating a consistent, healthy diet appropriate for your size and weight is essential in controlling your blood sugar level.
Type 2 diabetes
Depending on how elevated your blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin are at the time of your diagnosis, you may be given a chance to lower your blood sugar level without medication.
* The best way to do this is to lose weight if you are obese and begin an exercise program.
* This will generally be tried for 3-6 months, and then your blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin will be rechecked. If they remain high, you will be started on an oral medication, usually a sulfonylurea or biguanide (Metformin), to help control your blood sugar level.
* Even if you are on medication, it is still important to eat a healthy diet, lose weight if you are overweight, and engage in moderate physical activity as often as possible.
* Your health care provider will monitor your progress on medication very carefully at first. It is important to get just the right dose of the right medication to get your blood sugar level in the recommended range with the fewest side effects.
* Your doctor may decide to combine two types of medications to get your blood sugar level under control.
* Gradually, even people with type 2 diabetes may require insulin injections to control their blood sugar levels.
* It is becoming more common for people with type 2 diabetes to take a combination of oral medication and insulin injections to control blood sugar levels.