There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Both types of diabetes prevent blood sugar from getting into your cells, where your body can convert it to usable energy. As a result, the excess sugar builds up in the blood steam causing damage to the blood vessels and nerves, and starving the body of the energy it needs to perform daily functions.
Although both types of diabetes are similar in their effects, they differ in the way they function, and in which treatments are available.
• Type 1, once known as juvenile diabetes, occurs when the body stops making insulin, the hormone that helps the cells use the sugar in the blood. The only way to treat type 1 is for patients to inject insulin.
• Type 2, once known as adult-onset diabetes, occurs when the body continues to make insulin, but the cells do not respond to it. There are several ways to treat type 2 diabetes, and the type of treatment depends on the patient’s health and how far the disease has advanced. Many patients take medication that helps their bodies respond to insulin; however it is also possible to treat the disease without medication.
Tips for Treating Type 2 Diabetes without Medication
Treating type 2 diabetes without medication is not easy, but it can be done. There are several things that patients must do if they opt to treat themselves without medication. Failing to do these things could lead to poor blood sugar management and significant health risks.
Tip 1: Consult your physician.
Whether you have just been diagnosed, or you have had type 2 diabetes for a while, you always need to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your treatment plan. Your doctor is aware of your condition and is the best person to help you determine whether or not you can go medication-free. Trying to do so without your doctor’s guidance, or knowledge, could cause you serious harm.
Tip 2: Monitor your blood sugar.
You need to monitor your sugar to make sure your treatment regimen is working. If your readings are consistently too high, or even too low, it could mean that you need to make adjustments to your treatment regimen, up to and including supplementing with medication. If you don’t have a blood sugar monitoring system, you can buy glucose test strips and glucose monitors from a variety of retailers.
Tip 3: Consult with a registered dietitian.
While you can also find ample resources on the internet for foods that can help you manage your diabetes, and prolong your life, it’s also important to work face-to-face with a reputable professional. A registered dietitian has the education and skills to actually prescribe a diet that can help you manage your illness. A registered dietitian can also help you make adjustments to help you stay on track. Even checking in as little as once every few months can make a difference in how successfully you manage you disease.
Exercise Regularly and Safely
Exercise makes your cells more sensitive to insulin, and it also helps you burn more sugar without insulin. For this reason exercise is an invaluable tool in your arsenal. However, you also need to be careful, because exercise can also cause hypoglycemia – a sudden drop in blood sugar. This is true even if you are taking medication. When exercising with type 2 diabetes you should:
• Have a small snack 30 minutes before you exercise;
• Keep emergency glucose on hand, such as candy, a sugary sports drink, or glucose tablets; and
• Check your blood sugar before, during and after you exercise. If your sugar is low, have a glucose-rich snack;
Keep Your Doctor in the Loop
You need to communicate your progress with your doctor to make sure everything is on track and that you are effectively managing your blood sugar. If you are having trouble managing your blood sugar it might be tempting to avoid talking to your doctor for fear of having to go back on medication. However, if you don’t report the problem, you could also set yourself up for some serious complications.
Your doctor might suggest going back on medication, but he might also be able to suggest ways to get your blood sugar under control without it.