There is always a significant amount of research going on in the field of diabetes. Scientists are always looking for a cure or better treatment, developing new drugs and equipment, and performing experiments with stem cells and other methods. New treatment options are becoming available all the time.
As a diabetic, keeping your blood sugar levels steady is key. Once you have that under control, many diabetics like to search out alternative treatments. In conjunction with your physician's knowledge, you may find your health is enhanced by one or more alternative treatments.
Let's take a look at some of the treatment options available for diabetics.
Those with Type I diabetes will need to take insulin. This can be done in the form of a shot, which the diabetic gives him or herself (except for small children, whose parents could give the daily shots). Another option is an insulin pump, which is outside the body but attached by a small tube. The diabetic enters what he or she eats into the pump, and the pump produces the necessary insulin.
For Type II diabetics, insulin may or may not be necessary. If it is, there are some different options for these diabetics. Inhaled or even oral insulin may be prescribed, or traditional shots or "pens."
In addition to insulin, some diabetics take various medications. Some medications, like Metformin, work by decreasing the glucose that the liver produces, which aids in the body's response to insulin. Others, such as Glipizide and Glimepiride, increase the pancreas's own insulin. This, of course, lowers blood sugar; but presumably it would only be effective if the pancreas still worked somewhat.
Some newer medications are called DPP-4 inhibitors. These affect the pancreas both by stimulating the secretion of insulin and by reducing the secretion of a hormone called glucagon. Glucagon raises blood sugar.
Some natural substances have been considered for their ability to lower or stabilize blood sugar. Chromium, a mineral that occurs naturally in whole sugar cane, may be low in people with Type II diabetes. Chromium is said to stabilize blood sugar. Other minerals, herbs, and foods that are said to help with blood sugar are:
- Magnesium (diabetics are often found to be deficient in this mineral)
- Essential fatty acids
Acupuncture has also been explored as an alternative treatment for diabetes.
Diet and exercise are important for all diabetics, but these essentials are usually considered "alternative treatments," probably because they do not directly involve drugs or conventional therapy. But exercise and diet are important for keeping blood sugar regulated and maintaining a healthy body weight.