Treatment and Management. Part 1

The goal of the treatment and management of diabetes is to decrease symptoms and prevent short-term complications such as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or ketoacidosis.
The caregiver and patient also should strive to eliminate or minimize long-term problems such as eye disease (retinopathy), kidney disease (nephropathy), nerve damage (neuropathy), heart disease (macrovascular disease), stroke, and blood vessel disease in the extremities (peripheral vascular disease).

To meet these goals, it is essential to keep the blood glucose level in the normal range.

Controlling diabetes is a balancing act between diet, medication and activity. An imbalance in any component causes a disruption in the others, resulting in either too high or too low of a blood glucose level. Patients should self-monitor blood glucose two to four times a day to determine their diet, medication and exercise requirements.

Medical Therapy
Type 1 diabetes must always be treated with insulin injections, usually two or three times per day. There are several types of insulin available from various sources.

The most commonly used are those that are genetically engineered to be exactly like human insulin. The differences in the various types of insulin are the times at which they “peak,” or work the hardest.

It is ideal to match the insulin injections to the person’s meal schedule in an effort to mimic a normally functioning pancreas. This requires that meals be eaten on a schedule to match the insulin peaks.

If not, the blood glucose can drop, causing symptoms of hypoglycemia (weakness, shakiness, coldness, clammy skin and mental confusion).

Insulin is administered with a syringe; however, there have been recent developments of devices such as insulin pens and insulin pumps. These devices are all used to control diabetes more efficiently.

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