Lavern Davidhizar, DO
What are Diabetes Treatment Options: Diet, Lifestyle, and Medications
The goals of your diabetes treatment plan are to control your blood sugar levels
and prevent diabetes complications. It’s wise to never attempt to treat diabetes on
your own since it’s a serious disease. A diabetes treatment plan will be tailored by
your Soldotna, Alaska doctor specifically for your type of diabetes and individual
needs that will be easy for you to understand and manage.
This treatment plan typically includes having your blood sugar levels monitored
regularly, one or more medications, lifestyle changes, and a healthy diet.
Diet and Diabetes
Diet and diabetes go hand in hand. It's important that your food choices are
healthy ones. This involves, among other things, you reading all food labels and
controlling the size of your food portions so you can maintain a healthy body
weight and manage your diabetes properly.
There will be certain food considerations you will need to think about, particularly
limiting your intake of simple carbohydrates. These are found in different foods like
cake, candy, jellies, certain breads and pastas, and more. You can raise your blood
glucose considerably by consuming these types of simple carbs.
Sticking to a strict diabetic diet is imperative to manage and control your blood
sugar. Not only do you need to keep an eye out for simple carbs, you also have to
watch out for the types of carbohydrates you do eat. You also have to watch the
amount of fat, protein and fiber that the food you eat contains.
Two other considerations are glycemic load (typical portion size) and glycemic
index (standardized portion). Low glycemic load and index type foods raise your
blood sugar levels more slowly than higher glycemic load and index foods.
Other considerations for your diet when you have Type 1 diabetes include the
amount and timing of insulin administration and how you time your meals.
Figuring out which food options are healthy for you can be challenging since there
are so many options out there. If you have diabetes (or pre-diabetes), the American
Heart Association has a chart that you can refer to that will help you make the right
In addition, here at Family Medical Clinic in Soldotna, AK, we’ll work with you to
devise a diet plan to help you to manage your diabetes.
Medications and Diabetes
Another thing that goes hand in hand is medications and diabetes. There are a
number of different medication options that our medical staff here at Family
Medical Clinic may recommend. Some include:
The most common and often prescribed medication that is used for Type 1
diabetes treatment is insulin. It is also used for people who have Type 2 diabetes. It
comes in various types and is given by injection. What form of insulin you will
require depends on the severity of your insulin depletion.
Insulin is required to control Type 1 diabetes, which can be administered either by
an insulin pump or multiple injections.
Oral Diabetes Drugs
After you have taken lifestyle measures and you still can't lower your glucose to a
seven percent HbA1c level or below, other options that might be explored are oral
diabetes medications. Below are some commonly prescribed oral diabetes
medications, though the list is not exhaustive.
Metformin: This medication is taken orally and helps keep your blood sugar
levels under control. It's not used for people with Type 1 diabetes, but works
effectively to help control your blood sugar when you have Type 2 diabetes. It
can be used in combination with other medications, including insulin.
Meglitinides and Sulfonylureas: These medications help release more insulin by
triggering beta cells.
Biguanides: This is another drug you take orally which reduces how much blood
glucose your liver makes while also increasing your muscles' sensitivity to
DPP-4 Inhibitors: Taken orally, these medications aid your body in reducing
blood sugar by using its own compounds.
SGLT2 Inhibitors: These drugs help to remove excess glucose from your body
through your urine.
Alpha-glucosidase Inhibitors: Also taken orally, these drugs slow down the
increasing levels of blood sugar after you eat by stopping various sugars and the
breakdown of starches in your digestive process.
Thiazolidinediones: This is another oral medication that helps your fat and
muscle tissue effectively use insulin. It also reduces how much blood sugar your
These types of oral diabetes medications are typically not given to you if you have
Type 1 diabetes. You instead, have to take insulin.
There are other medications, like Exenatide, that you inject which lowers high
blood sugar levels. You can maintain better glycemic control when you combine it
with weight loss.
You will work closely with Family Medical Clinic doctor in Soldotna to decide which
medication is right for you. There are a number of factors that will determine which
medication or combination of medications you should try, including:
In some cases, you might need an additional medication like statin if you are at risk
for heart disease and have Type 2 diabetes.
How to Control Diabetes with Lifestyle Changes
There are over 68,500 Alaskan residents living with diabetes, many of whom have
been able to control their disease through medication and lifestyle changes. There
are certain lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent or slow the progression
of diabetes or better manage your diabetes if you have already been diagnosed
with the disease.
According to some studies, lifestyle changes like losing excess weight, eating a diet
that is health, and being more physically active can control Type 1 diabetes and
slow the progression of Type 2 diabetes significantly. You can also reduce other
risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure with positive lifestyle
changes that can impact your life and health positively when living with diabetes.
In most cases, you will need to add in positive lifestyle changes to your medication
treatment plan to manage your high blood pressure, blood glucose levels and
cholesterol to avoid having a stroke or heart attack.
You risk further complications when you are obese or overweight and have
diabetes. Simply by eating healthy and exercising, you can lose those extra pounds
that will help you reduce serious health problems and get your diabetes under
control. Not to mention, you will simply feel better and have more energy in
general when you lose excess weight.
If you are obese or overweight, you should lose five to 10 percent of your body
weight to avoid the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Changes in Diet
It’s important to follow a healthy diet plan that balances carbohydrate, protein,
fruits and vegetables and fats in a manner that manages your diabetes effectively.
As mentioned earlier, you should not only limit your simple carbs to help control
your diabetes, but also work with your Soldotna physician or dietician to
understand the diabetic diet you should follow to control your blood glucose levels.
Each week you should strive for 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a
week if you have Type 2 diabetes. Resistance training a couple days a week as well as cardio workouts.
To learn more about diabetes and the care you need, call Family Medical Clinic in Soldotna, Alaska today at (907) 262-7566.