Diabetes Prevention and Treatment
Diabetes type 1 is generally considered a disease with a genetic component and to-date it has not been shown to be preventable. Though studies indicate development of the disease is more likely in diabetics’ close family members who have been tested and found to have certain specific antibodies, and/or have other risk factors, these individuals can potentially slow the development by keeping their blood sugar within a healthy range. As yet, however, there is no certain cure for the disease.
The history and comparison, yesterday to today, of type 1 diabetes’s impact on those who have it suggests that medical science has made great strides: Control of blood sugar levels by following a healthy lifestyle and receiving the proper amount of insulin can substantially lessen, or even prevent, the damaging long-term affects of diabetes type 1.
Diabetes type 1 follows the same lifestyle and treatment recommendations as type 1. Recent findings regarding the impact of weight-loss and weight-loss surgery on patients with diabetes type 2, however, indicate these may have positive success in reducing or reversing diabetes in many obese patients. This does not hold true for diabetes type 1.
Maintaining the essentials of a healthy lifestyle includes:
- eating a healthy diet
- exercising regularly
- (following an exercise routine most days of the week, 30 minutes per day; walking is considered to be the best exercise for people of all ages)
- consistently maintaining a healthy weight
- knowing your body mass index (BMI)
- BMI 18.5-24.9 normal
- BMI 25-29.9 overweight
- BMI 30 and above-obese
- not smoking
- avoiding alcohol intake
Establishing a diabetes treatment plan includes:
- discussing your treatment plan with your primary care physician
- seeing an endocrinologist (diabetes management requires close observation, often requiring a team of specialists)
- seeing a certified diabetic educator
- knowing your ABC’s of diabetes: A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol
- monitoring your blood glucose regularly
- following a carbohydrate-controlled diet
- learning medical nutrition management: see a dietitian to review your diet plan
- understanding sick day management
- taking oral antidiabetic agents or insulin may be required (type 1 diabetes requires insulin management; type 2 diabetes may require insulin or oral antidiabetic agents; it is not uncommon for type 2 diabetics to take insulin)
- seeing a podiatrist for foot care management
- annual visit to ophthalmologist for exam (check for retinopathy)
- visiting a dentist every six months for cleaning: maintain good oral hygiene
- having MedicAlert may be recommended
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