- Better Blood Sugar Balance
- Traveling & Diabetes: Safe Travel Tips
- Take the Diabetes Quiz!
- Patient Comments: Diabetes Home Care Management - Diet
- Patient Comments: Diabetes Home Care Management - Exercise
- Patient Comments: Diabetes Home Care Management - Medications
- Find a local Endocrinologist in your town
- Diabetes home care management facts
- What is diabetes?
- What is the treatment for diabetes?
- Exercise therapy for diabetes
- Diet therapy for diabetes
- Diabetes and drug therapy
- How is diabetic treatment monitored at home?
- Blood glucose reagent strips
- Blood glucose meters
- Urine glucose tests
- Tests for urinary ketones
- Blood glucose
- Continuous glucose sensors (CGMS)
- Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) testing
Quick GuideBlood Sugar Swings: Tips for Managing Diabetes & Glucose Levels
What is diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the body produces no insulin (type 1 diabetes) or insufficient insulin (type 2 diabetes). Insulin is a chemical (hormone) produced and secreted by the pancreas. Insulin is essential for all parts of the body to properly store and use nutrients (glucose, proteins, and fat). Insulin helps the nutrients to enter the cells of the body. Insulin allows cells to transfer sugar (glucose) from the blood into cells, and this glucose is used to generate the energy necessary to fuel cellular activities. When insulin is absent or ineffective, cells import inadequate amounts of glucose, a starvation process that causes the liver to release more glucose into the blood in an attempt to feed other tissues. Since this additional glucose still cannot enter the cells, glucose levels in the blood rise. As this glucose-rich blood is filtered by the kidneys, excess sugar enters the urine, accompanied by extra water. High levels of sugar in the blood and urine cause the symptoms and signs of diabetes, such as frequent urination and excessive thirst.
What is the treatment for diabetes?
The appropriate treatment for an individual depends on the type of diabetes and its severity. The goal of therapy is to control blood glucose levels, in order to prevent the immediate signs and symptoms of high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia), as well as prevent the long-term complications of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is managed with a combination of exercise, diet and medication. It is first treated with weight reduction, diabetic diet, and exercise. When these measures fail to control the elevated blood sugars, oral medications are used. If oral medications are still insufficient, insulin therapy, or other newer injectable therapies are considered.
Type 1 diabetes mellitus requires insulin in addition to exercise, and a diabetic diet.