Diabetes is serious and should be treated properly. People with diabetes should have access to good, regular healthcare. However, at the same time, the decisions that are made by those with diabetes are central to the management of their condition.
Although diabetes cannot yet be cured it can be managed very successfully. This is likely to involve lifestyle changes that will have enormous health benefits and allow a person to continue their normal day-to-day life. You may also be required to take diabetes medication or insulin, or a combination of the two.
If medication is needed to achieve good diabetes control your healthcare team will discuss the best choice of treatment.
Diabetes medication will not cure your diabetes and most people will have to take them for the rest of their lives, but medication will help you to feel better by relieving the symptoms of diabetes and reducing your risk of complications.
If you take medication, it is important to know how it works, and to be aware of the potential problems/side effects you may have. Remember that you can always discuss any questions you may have about your treatment with your diabetes healthcare team.
It is important to remember that the medication is not instead of diet and physical activity: you will still need to continue with this.
Increasing or changing diabetes medication is not a sign that your diabetes is becoming more severe, but that your healthcare team are working with you to improve your diabetes management.
Treatment with insulin
All people with Type 1 diabetes will require insulin and eventually, some people with Type 2 diabetes find that despite having their diabetes medication adjusted, their blood glucose levels remain too high and insulin treatment is recommended by their doctor.
Insulin cannot be taken in a tablet form because, being a protein, it would be digested in the stomach before it had any effect. Insulin can be given in different ways via an injection, using a syringe, pen device or via an insulin pump. The needle is small, as it only needs to be injected under the skin (subcutaneously), either in the stomach, buttocks, thighs or upper arms. The insulin is then absorbed into small blood vessels and arrives in the bloodstream.
There are six main types of insulin available in various combinations and they all work in different ways. Your diabetes healthcare team will discuss the different options available and answer any specific questions you may have.