Diabetes is a disease that affects someone’s ability to produce or benefit from insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. When insulin secretion is impaired, it has an adverse effect on carbohydrate metabolism. Someone with diabetes will have an elevated level of glucose in their blood and in their urine.
The Most Common Types of Diabetes
There are a number of forms of this disease, with type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes being the most common. Type 2 and type 1 are chronic conditions.
In type 2, the body has difficulty processing glucose, that is, blood sugar, and in type 1, the body produces only a little insulin or none at all. With prediabetes, the blood sugar level is high, but not abnormally high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, gestational diabetes is a condition of high blood sugar that affects pregnant women.
Medical Care and Medical Supplies
Besides receiving medical care from a doctor, it’s important that someone with diabetes have access to necessary medical supplies. Too often, the condition can get worse if a patient fails to measure their blood sugar levels and loses track of what their levels might be. Fortunately, many medical supplies can be purchased online. Someone can buy reagent strips and other diabetic medical supplies in bulk from websites like USAMedicalSurgical.com and save money in the process.
3 Important Factors for Managing Diabetes
Medical care consists on focusing on three essential factors: a person with diabetes must change the way they eat, must monitor their blood sugar levels regularly, and must consist with the pills and insulin that they are expected to take.
1. Changing Dietary Habits
While it’s generally understood that someone with diabetes should watch their sugar intake and avoid foods high in white sugar and other sweeteners, these are not the only dietary changes necessary. A person with diabetes must also limit the number of carbohydrates they get from refined grains, like white rice and white bread. While they can still eat carbohydrates, they should get these from sources like nonfat milk, low-fat milk, beans, whole grains, as well as from fruits and vegetables.
2. Monitoring Sugar Levels
According to the Mayo Clinic, the American Diabetes Association suggests that target blood sugar levels before a meal should be between 80 and 130 mg/dL; and it should be less than 180 mg/dL about two hours after a meal.
3. Deciding between Pills and Insulin
It’s important to understand that treatment isn’t about trying to decide between either using pills or insulin. It’s a little more complicated than that. A doctor will base their recommendation on the type of diabetes a patient has, how long a person has had it, and how much insulin their body is producing naturally.
While pills are certainly easier to swallow than taking insulin, it also depends on what type of pills are recommended. Pills are not without side effects, so some trial-and-error experimentation may be necessary to decide on the best type of pills with the least side effects. Another thing to keep in mind is that efficacy levels can also drop. A pill may work well for some time and then completely stop providing any benefits.
If someone is taking pills that become increasingly ineffective and their type 2 diabetes continues to get worse, then they may also need to start using insulin. Unfortunately, insulin, too, has side-effects. If someone takes too little or too much, it can be problematic. For all these reasons, consistent glucose monitoring and changing medication when necessary are the best ways to manage diabetes.
How Many People Have Diabetes?
According to the Center for Disease Control, about 9.4 percent of the population or about 30.3 million people in the US have diabetes. What’s more, out of this number, only 23.1 million are aware of it. The remaining 7.2 million don’t even know that they have it. Diabetes appears to affect ethnic groups in different ways. American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Hispanic, and Non-Hispanic black are the most prone to have it. Meanwhile, Non-Hispanic whites are the least likely to suffer from it.