Before any treatment of diabetes can be administered by an endocrinologist or diabetologist, the sugar content in the blood will have to be analyzed. Treatment of diabetes will be done the conventional way by a doctor, after evaluating the symptoms and the results of the laboratory test.
The 2 common laboratory tests include the Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG) and the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). In FPG, the patient will undergo an 8 hour fast before the blood glucose level is measured. While in OGTT, patient will fast before the blood sugar level is determined and will be repeated again 2 hours after allowing a large dosage of glucose from a beverage drink.
Generally, the normal blood sugar level is 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). When the sugar level reaches from 100 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl, there is already the presence of impaired fasting glucose or pre-diabetes. People with diabetes have 126 mg/dl or higher. However, the sugar levels may differ per laboratory.
Diabetes may either be type 1, type 2 or gestational. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is no longer producing enough insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body is not reacting sensitively to the insulin from the pancreas brought by poor diet or lack of exercise, or both.
In gestational diabetes, pregnant women are affected in the later period of their pregnancy. This is usually carried away after birth but makes them vulnerable to type 2 diabetes in the years ahead.
After determining the type of diabetes to be treated, conventional treatments available are the following:
1. Injections of insulin. At least two insulin shots a day are needed by people with type 1 diabetes in order to have a good blood sugar level. Oral medications are not applicable because the stomach will only digest it before it goes to the blood. Injections for longer lasting insulin should be made 30 minutes before a meal while rapid-acting insulin should be taken before eating.
2. Insulin pumps. This is a battery-operated gadget, about the size of a cigarette pack, placed outside the body usually fastened to a waistband or belt. The device pumps insulin to a catheter needle injected in the skin just under the walls of the abdomen.
3. Oral drugs. The oral medications are applicable only to type 2 diabetes. This is effective to diabetics with normal weight but with high blood sugar levels for a period of ten years or less. However, it was noted that after a certain period of time, oral medication is preceded by insulin injection.
Just like some conventional drugs, the side-effects usually affect the kidneys and the liver due to toxicity in the bloodstream. As the treatment goes on, the patient is not only fighting the diabetes but also the ill-effects of the medications.
On the other hand, diabetics have an alternative treatment in the form of herbal products like Banaba Leaf, Cinnamon, Momordica, Fernugreek and Gymnema Sylvestre. The recommendation of these herbal products are said to be supported by medical studies.