Diabetes: Tips for Managing Type 1 and 2 Diabetes at Home

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Diabetes home care management facts

  • Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
  • The main types of diabetes mellitus are type 1 (insulin deficiency; formerly called juvenile diabetes) and type 2 (ineffective resistance).
  • Treatment depends on the type and severity of diabetes.
  • Type 1 diabetes requires insulin therapy as well as controlled nutrition and exercise.
  • Type 2 diabetes is best treated with weight reduction, the proper diabetic diet, and exercise. When these measures do not control the blood sugar, oral medications and/or injectable therapies (including insulin) are prescribed.
  • The main goal of diabetes care is to control blood glucose levels in order to prevent the serious complications of diabetes. Glucose levels should be lowered into the normal range, while avoiding low blood sugar whenever possible. It is essential to monitor the effects of treatment on blood glucose levels to avoid overtreatment or undertreatment.
  • Two kinds of home blood glucose monitoring exist. The first type uses a reagent strip. The second type uses a reagent strip and glucose meter. Use of the glucose meter has become more common due to higher reliability than strips alone. Glucose can also be measured in the urine but no longer has a significant role in home testing.
  • Ketoacidosis is a serious but preventable complication from inadequate treatment of diabetes. This dangerous condition is identified by testing for the urine for ketones.
  • People with diabetes should discuss monitoring in detail with their health-care professional, and have clearly defined goals for blood sugar control.
  • Choices for blood glucose meters should be discussed with your physician and any caregivers. The optimal meter accounts for characteristics of the patient which impact usability, such as visual impairment, tremors, and other factors.
  • Glucose sensors have improved dramatically in the last few years. These sensors provide strong options for patients to gain further insight into their glucose patterns in order to tailor more individual treatment regimens.
  • People with diabetes should visit their health care professional every three months to monitor their hemoglobin A1c levels and to discuss their treatment plan.
  • Good care of diabetes at home with appropriate monitoring, combined with timely visits to the health care team, make diabetes much more manageable. It is clear that good control of diabetes reduces the risk of developing the complications caused by diabetes, such as blindness and kidney failure.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/4/2014

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Diabetes Home Care Management - Diet Question: What type of diet to you follow to manage your diabetes?
Diabetes Home Care Management - Exercise Question: What types of exercise do you engage in to manage diabetes?
Diabetes Home Care Management - Testing Question: Describe the process you go through when testing with blood glucose reagent strips.
Diabetes Home Care Management - Medications Question: What medications do you take for diabetes and how do you take them?

Diabetes Diet

Medical Author:Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor:William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Proper nutrition is essential for anyone living with diabetes. Control of blood glucose levels is only one goal of a healthy eating plan for people with diabetes. A diet for those with diabetes should also help achieve and maintain a normal body weight as well as prevent heart and vascular disease, which are frequent complications of diabetes.

There is no prescribed diet plan for those with diabetes. Rather, eating plans are tailored to fit an individual's needs, schedules, and eating habits. A diabetes diet plan must also be balanced with the intake of insulin and oral diabetes medications. In general, the principles of a healthy diabetes diet are the same for everyone. Consumption of a variety of foods including whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy products, beans, and lean meats or vegetarian substitutes, poultry and fish is recommended to achieve a healthy diet.

Many experts, including the American Diabetes Association, recommend that 50% to 60% of daily calories come from carbohydrates, 12% to 20% from protein, and no more than 30% from fat. People with diabetes may also benefit from eating small meals throughout the day instead of eating one or two heavy meals. No foods are absolutely forbidden for people with diabetes, and attention to portion control and advance meal planning can help people with diabetes enjoy the same meals as others in the family.

Some people with diabetes will benefit from using specific methods to help follow a diabetes meal plan. None of these diet plans is required for people with diabetes, but many people will find one them useful. Some of these ways include...