If during the examination, when going to the doctor with complaints about weight changes, thirst, weakness and skin problems, the diagnosis is “sugar diabetes ”, you need to be prepared for the fact that in life there will be major changes. In the treatment of this disease, a significant role is given to the control of nutrition and lifestyle changes. Some patients will need to constantly take drugs that lower plasma glucose levels, and some will be shown insulin therapy. Patients after they learn about their diagnosis invariably have many questions, the answers to which need to be learned from a specialist.
Diabetes: what is it?
Diabetes mellitus is a specific pathology that occurs when plasma glucose levels are too high. The body converts food into energy. This energy in the form of glucose circulates in the blood by entering the cells. A hormone called insulin, produced by the pancreas, helps cells extract the glucose they need from the blood. But sometimes the body does not produce enough insulin. When it is not enough glucose getting into the blood, is not absorbed by the cells, which can lead to a chronically high content of it in the plasma. In this case, the cells suffer from energy deficiency.
Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst and increased urination, constant hunger, fatigue and visual disturbances, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, unexplained weight loss and skin damage that do not heal properly. If not treated diabetes, it can be a very dangerous, life-threatening condition.
If the diagnosis of diabetes is only made, you should definitely ask your doctor the following questions to make sure that everything possible is being done to maintain health in the background of this dangerous disease.
What type of disease is it?
There are several different types of disease, but there are two main forms – type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder affecting the pancreas. Because of this, it does not produce enough insulin. Sometimes referred to as adolescent diabetes, it is often detected in children (but can develop at any age) and tends to progress rapidly. Type 1 diabetes is relatively rare, it accounts for about 5-10% of all cases of the disease.
But type 2 diabetes is the most common form, accounting for 80 to 85% of all cases. The disease develops slowly, usually within a few months. The body forms insulin resistance. Pathology can occur in people of all ages, but is more common in older people who are overweight. It is important to get tested immediately to determine type of diabetes, because diseases have different approaches to treatment. Early treatment can reduce the severity of the disease and delay its progression.
Do I need to drink medicine?
Today, there are several medications available for diabetic patients that can help control blood sugar. Metformin is a common oral medicine from which many patients with type 2 diabetes begin treatment . People with type 1 diabetes usually get injectable insulin. There are also new technologies, devices for continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pumps that can be used depending on the type and stage of the disease.
In the initial stage, not all diabetics need medications. The doctor will teach you to use the meter to check your blood sugar several times a day. In addition, the patient will be sent to the diabetes school, where he will acquire many real skills: performing insulin injections, checking sugar, ketones, and selecting basic dietary products. Monitoring indicators and nutrition, and in some cases, medications, will help to normalize the condition and lead a completely familiar life.
What nutritional changes are needed?
Since diabetes is related to nutritional metabolic pathologies, making some changes in diet and physical activity can be a key element in lifestyle changes. Nutrition in people with diabetes naturally changes, and its role for people with type 2 diabetes is more significant. Patients with both types of diabetes should significantly adjust their habitual diet, as it affects the dose of medication and insulin.
The physician should conduct a detailed conversation regarding the change of diet, he may recommend to remove simple carbohydrates or foods high in sugar, such as sweet soda, cookies, candy, bread, rice and potatoes.
In addition, diabetic patients should know how physical activity can help them regulate blood sugar levels. You need to talk with your doctor about how to combine nutrition and physical activity, what form of exercise is best suited for a particular situation.
Which doctor will observe?
Initially, the diagnosis can be made by the family doctor or therapist on the basis of complaints and typical test changes. In the future, the treatment of diabetes will be handled by an endocrinologist, in whom the patient will be registered. If necessary, other doctors – dermatologists, cardiologists, and neurologists may be involved in the treatment of diabetic.
How will the disease develop?
Diabetes progresses over time. People who have long-term type 2 diabetes often need to take antihyperglycemic drugs, and often then insulin injections. This is due to the fact that the body gradually loses the ability to produce insulin. Diabetes is a progressive chronic disease that requires monitoring from the moment a diagnosis is made for the rest of your life.
Many patients know about the drugs, but do not realize that they will need to be taken for the rest of their lives. There is a common misconception that if you lose 5-10 kg or more, you can not take drugs and diabetes will disappear. Doctors say that there is no real way to cure diabetes. It is possible to put him into remission, but he will never disappear. Therefore, sooner or later, you will need medication or insulin injections.
However, diabetes control can significantly slow down its progression. With the initial diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, weight loss makes the prognosis of the disease more optimistic. The more weight the patient loses at the stage of diagnosis, the less drugs he will take in three years or five years, in 20 years. But a person who does not lose weight or continues to gain it and does not take medication after 5-7 years will face the fact that the pills will not work, and you will need to add insulin to the treatment or increase its dose.