Diabetes Treatment Overview

Diabetes Treatments

Diabetes Food Calendar
If you’ve been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may wonder what comes next.

Your treatment plan will be likely be determined by you and your healthcare team – either your general physician or an endocrinologist, and perhaps a diabetes educator or registered dietician – and include the following:

For Type 1:

  • Taking medication: For type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to give yourself insulin several times a day by using a pen or syringe. Or you may have an insulin pump that continuously delivers insulin to your body. Your doctor may need to adjust the type or dosage of insulin depending on its effectiveness.
  • Checking your blood glucose levels: You’ll usually need to check your blood glucose levels four to eight times a day using a small needle (lancet), test strip and monitor.
  • Meeting with your team: Luckily, you won’t have to manage your disease alone. You’ll probably meet with a dietitian or diabetes educator to develop a plan for your specific condition and needs. You’ll be given more information about how to inject your insulin or how to program and maintain your insulin pump. A dietitian can help you develop an eating plan, including information about what impact certain foods have on your blood sugar levels. He or she can discuss your specific dietary needs and help you create a plan that fits your lifestyle.

For Type 2:

  • Taking medication: Your doctor may prescribe medication to help you keep your blood glucose levels within the desired range. You may need to take one or more oral medications, insulin or a combination of both. Often, adjustments need to be made as your treatment progresses.
  • Checking your blood glucose levels: You’ll need to check your blood glucose – using a small needle, testing strip and a meter – to make sure it’s within the desired range. Twice a day testing is common with type 2 diabetes.
  • Meeting with your team: You’ll probably be referred to a diabetes nurse educator for further instruction on managing your disease and for help learning how to test your blood and administering insulin shots if needed. Your doctor will also refer you to a dietitian so they can develop an eating plan for you.

Keeping a food “diary”

Regardless of whether you have type 1 or type 2, keeping track of what you eat is a great tool to manage diabetes. By keeping a record of what and when you have eaten, you will learn how different foods (carbohydrates) affect your blood sugar levels. For example, you may notice you will need to eat differently if you are planning on exercising, or you may have to add in some snacks if you are going to have a longer work day that will delay your dinner meal. Or perhaps your mood levels are out of balance, which could be a result of not getting enough to eat at certain times.

Your diary will also give you and your treatment team information to help make changes to your routine or your medications and dosages. Having a written (or electronic!) history helps keep track, essentially retracing your health steps.

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you and your team – your doctor, dietitian, and diabetes educator – will work with you to treat your disease. The more you learn about how your diet, activity and medication affect your blood sugar levels, the healthier you’re likely to be.

Want to know more? Find more helpful information and tips by visiting our “Lifestyle” section.