Treatment for diabetes involves following a regimen of diet, exercise, self-monitoring of blood glucose, and taking medication or insulin injections. Although type 1 diabetes is primarily managed with daily insulin injections, type 2 diabetes can be controlled with diet and exercise. However, when diet and exercise fail, medication is added to stimulate the production of insulin, reduce insulin resistance, decrease the liver's output of glucose, or slow absorption of carbohydrate from the gastrointestinal tract. When medication fails, insulin is required.
Following the diagnosis of diabetes, a diabetic patient undergoes medical nutrition therapy. In other words, a registered dietician performs a nutritional assessment to evaluate the diabetic patient's food intake, metabolic status, lifestyle, and readiness to make changes, along with providing dietary instruction and goal setting. The assessment is individualized and takes into account cultural, lifestyle, and financial considerations. The goals of medical nutrition therapy are to attain appropriate blood glucose, lipid, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, which are critical to preventing the chronic complications associated with diabetes. For meal planning, the diabetic exchange system provides a quick method for estimating and maintaining the proper balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and calories. In the exchange system, foods are categorized into groups, with each group having food with similar amounts of carbohydrate, protein, fat, and calories. Based on the individual's diabetes treatment plan and goals, any food on the list can be exchanged with another food within the same group.
Exercise and blood glucose monitoring are also critical components of a diabetic patient's self-management. Exercise improves blood glucose control, increases sensitivity to insulin, reduces cardiovascular risk factors, contributes to weight loss, and improves well-being. Exercise further contributes to a reduction in the risk factors for diabetes-related complications. Daily self-monitoring of blood glucose levels allows diabetic patients to evaluate and make adjustments in diet, exercise, and medications. Self-monitoring also assists in preventing hypoglycemic episodes.
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic and debilitating disease. Attributed to genetics, physical inactivity, obesity, ethnicity, and a number of environmental absorption: uptake by the digestive tract gastrointestinal: related to the stomach and intestines nutrition: the maintenance of health through proper eating, or the study of same cholesterol: multi-ringed molecule found in animal cell membranes; a type of lipid chronic: over a long period calorie: unit of food energy hypoglycemic: related to low level of blood sugar factors, diabetes requires lifestyle changes and medication adherence in order to control blood glucose levels. Due to the damage caused by hyper-glycemia, diabetic patients also experience a number of complications related to the disease. With good self-management practices, however, individuals with diabetes can live a long and productive life. see also Carbohydrates; Exchange System; Glycemic Index; Hyperglycemia; Hypoglycemia; Insulin.
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