There are three management approaches for treatment of diabetes. They include; Diet alone, Diet + Oral Hypoglycemic Drugs, Diet + Insulin Injection.
Dietary Management: In general principle, dietary measures are required in treatment of all diabetic patients in order to achieve the overall therapeutic goal. Diet Alone approach is the first line of action in the management of diabetes. It is mainly recommended for those with pre-diabetic state (those who have blood sugar level higher than normal but not up to the level to be called diabetic patient).
It also serves as a preventive measure, particularly for high risk group like those with family history of diabetes and obesity. Diabetes diet consist of less carbohydrate, less fat, more vegetables & fruits and more anti-oxidants. The latter we shall know more in a later series.
Drug Treatment of Diabetes
This is the second line of action in the management of diabetes. When diet alone approach fails or when it is not able to bring down the sugar level to an appreciable degree, instituting drug therapy becomes inevitable. The commonly used oral drugs in treatment of diabetes are daonil and Glucophage. These complement each other in their actions and thus have been found to be effective in controlling of diabetes, particularly the uncomplicated ones.
The drugs enhance release of insulin in response to blood sugar but do not stimulate insulin production. Therefore, by reason of their mechanism of action, these drugs could only be used for treatment of type 2 diabetes, where there is relative lack of insulin and not for type 2 diabetes, where there is relative lack of insulin and not for type 1 where there is no insulin production at all. Furthermore, the dietary approach also complements the drugs. It is therefore necessary for diabetic patients on these drugs to continue with their dieting in other to enhance the efficiency of these drugs.
Insulin injection is a synthetic form of the natural insulin produced by Pancreas. It is the last resort in the management of diabetes. Those with type 1 diabetes who cannot produce their own insulin or those who had Pancreatectomy (Surgical removal of the pancreas), can depend on insulin injection throughout life. There are three main time-dependent insulin preparations, namely; short acting, medium acting and long acting insulin. It is the duty of the doctor to know the suitable preparation for a given diabetic patient.
Diabetic Treatment and Alcohol
It is important to know the effects of alcohol, not only on diabetes, but also on the treatment of the disease. Alcohol can produce the following ugly effects on a diabetic who is on the oral drugs.
– Alcohol has a tendency of causing a condition known as lactic acidosis in patients taking anti-diabetic drug.
– Alcohol contains sugar which can increase blood sugar level and thus affects drug efficiency.
– Alcohol can induce a disulfiram type of reaction as a patient taking anti-diabetic drug. This reaction can make some patients feel as if they are passing out because of the interaction of Alcohol and the drug.
Anti-Diabetic Drugs and Their Dangers
In as much as it is important for you to know everything about diabetes including the drugs for the treatment, it is also important to sound this warning; Never ever take anti-diabetic drugs or insulin injection without due consultation with a qualified medical doctor; not even a nurse or health worker. Secondly, never ever take a diabetic or hypertensive drug because you have the previous prescription or know the drugs your doctor routinely prescribes for you.
These warnings should be taken as serious as the disease itself. Studies have shown that self medication accounts for about 30% of death of diabetic patients. As a matter of fact, anti-diabetic drugs or insulin injection, if taken without professional guidance, brings one closer to the grave than the disease itself. What do I mean by this you may ask.
The most important thing that keeps the brain functioning is glucose (sugar). It is the main source of energy for the brain. Strikingly, other body cells can survive for sometime with minimal sugar but not the brain. There is a certain level of blood sugar that guarantees survival of the brain. Below such limit could be life threatening. Of course, once the brain switches off, every other body function paralyses
Even though lowering the blood sugar level is important, lowering it lower the certain level kills the patient faster than excess sugar in the blood. This is the fundamental reason for the routine blood sugar test before each prescription. Never take diabetic or hypertensive drugs without knowing your current sugar level through test. It is the current Fasting Blood Sugar Level that guides the doctor to prescribe ideal dose for you.