In this report I will talk all about the treatment and management of Diabetes 2
First Of All. What Is Diabetes?
This is a condition where your body is either not making enough of the hormone insulin or the insulin that you are producing is not being used effectively.
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. It allows the glucose in our blood stream to enter the cells and muscles to be used for energy. You can think of it like a key that unlocks the cells to allow the glucose to enter. In people who don’t have diabetes insulin controls the glucose to within ideal levels.
Insulin is needed to help our bodies to use the glucose in our blood for energy in our muscles and tissues. Glucose gets into our blood from the digestion of the carbohydrates in our food
What are the types of diabetes?
- Type 1 diabetes happens when your body cannot make insulin. This type most commonly affects children and young adults, and is a result of your body’s immune system attacking the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. 1 in 10 people with diabetes are Type 1.
- Type 2 diabetes happens when your pancreas isn’t making enough insulin or your body can no longer use the insulin it makes.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common than Type 1 and tends to develop gradually as people get older – usually after the age of 40. But more and more people every year are being diagnosed at a much younger age.
It’s closely linked with:
- being overweight, especially if you carry a lot of weight around the middle
- being physically inactive
- a family history of Type 2 diabetes.
Medicines for type 2 diabetes
Most people need medicine to control their type 2 diabetes. Medicine helps keep your blood sugar level as normal as possible to prevent health problems. The first medication that is normally offered is called Metformin. If your blood sugar levels are not lower within 3 months, you may need another medicine or an increase in your present medicine or a combination of both. Your GP or diabetes nurse will recommend the medicines most suitable for you.
You may have to take it for the rest of your life. Diabetes usually gets worse over time, so your medicine or dose may need to change. Adjusting your diet and being active is also necessary to keep your blood sugar level down.
Insulin is not often used for type 2 diabetes in the early years. It’s only needed when other medicines no longer work.
Taking your medicine
Your GP or diabetes nurse will explain how to take your medicine and how to store it. If you need to inject insulin, they’ll show you how.
You’ll need to make an appointment with the diabetic nurse who will provide certain tests to ascertain the level, so to speak, of your Type 2 Diabetes. The checks done are:
- Your blood sugar levels
- Your blood pressure
- Your Cholesterol level
- Your feet
- Your eyes are also tested (retinopathy) but this is done in a different department and is usually done once a year.
According to what results the nurse gets, she will liaise with the doctor to devise a course of action which includes a course of medication and some lifestyle changes such as exercising. You will have to have regular checkups with the diabetes nurse and sometimes with your doctor.
Your doctor will regularly check your HbA1c (hemoglobin A1c) levels and you will review them together to see how stable your glucose level has been over a period. A hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test measures the amount of blood sugar (glucose) attached to hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. These levels will help your doctor work out whether your lifestyle changes and medication are working, or if they need to make a change to your treatment plan. If your treatment plan has changed you may have an HbA1c test after 3 months, and once you are stable on a treatment plan your HbA1c levels need to be checked every 6 months.
Managing my Type 2 diabetes.
Once you are given the course of action by your doctor and nurse, you have to manage your diabetes on your own, but you are given specific instructions what to do. They tell you when to take the medication and to exercise regularly.
Sometimes, as in my case after I had a check up after 3 months, the Diabetes 2 becomes worse and the doctor would increase the dosage of the medication, in this case Metformin (which happened in my case) to see if your condition improves. However, there can be complications.
Your diabetes medicine may cause side effects.
These can include:
- bloating and diarrhea
- weight loss or weight gain
- feeling sick
- swollen ankles
This happened in my case. My Metformin dose was doubled and it immediately had an effect on me. I had terrible diarrhea, a bit of vomiting (the first time I vomited in my life) and some gastric problems in my stomach. I felt terrible and stopped taking the increased dosage immediately. If you feel unwell after taking medicine or notice any side effects, speak to your GP or diabetes nurse. Do not stop taking medication without getting advice.
However, not everyone experiences side effects.
I told my doctor of my side effects and he chose a different path for me. In my case I did not heed their advice totally. I took the medication religiously but did no exercises whatsoever (because I was upset and depressed because of my business, for those of you who know my story). In case, you are wondering, I am OK now and managing my Diabetes 2 successfully.
The doctors will check you regularly and tweak the doses of medication until they get a balance. However, your recovery also depends on you. If you don’t take your medication regularly or you exercise very little or not at all (as in my case) you most probably will not improve. So obey the doctor and nurses’ instructions.
Traveling with diabetes medicines
If you’re going on holiday:
- pack extra medicine – speak to your diabetes nurse about how much to take
- carry your medicine in your hand luggage just in case checked-in bags go missing or get damaged
- if you’re flying with a medicine you inject, get a letter from your GP that says you need it to treat diabetes
Now you know the different treatments of type 2 diabetes, you know that it mainly depends on you to control this disease and it’s all under your control. So go and control it and don’t let it get you down.
If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
All the best,