Diabetes Treatment Options – Myth vs Fact

Having worked with Diabetes (type 1 and 2) for many years (living as a type 1), I have seen many claims.  My aim, in this short overview is to give people a sense of what their options are that actually work.  Save your money from all the other “cures” as if they were that good, we wouldn’t need drugs to treat diabetes, now would we. 

So sit back relax, as I give you options for type 1 and 2 diabetics to take control of their disease and avoid being ripped off.

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Diabetic Treatment ConsiderationsWhat are my Diabetic Treatment Options:

Type 1

Diabetic Treatment Option 1 – Insulin:

Type 1 diabetes simply put, is the islet cells of the pancreas no longer being able to make insulin to transport glucose out of the blood and into the cells that need them.  The only way to change this without surgery is to inject the hormone itself, FULLSTOP!

Now to my dismay, I see facebook accounts and twitter’s claiming that they have found a way to eliminate the need for insulin in type 1′s.  Simply put, you or your loved one will eventually die if they don’t receive insulin (and no I am not being melodramatic – that is why Banting got the Nobel prize).

When newly diagnosed there is a period called the “honeymoon phase” where it appears the body recovers.  This is just temporary and can explain why using cinnamon in crazy amounts may be seen to have an effect.  If you like cinnamon thats one thing, but rest assured, it cannot replace or fight the body shutting down insulin production.  If it did, the “scientist” that discovered this, would also have a Nobel peace prize.

Be aware of sites and people telling you not to trust pharma.  Why do you think they are doing this.  More often than not they are trying to peddle their own products (how ironic), the difference is, without any science.

Now of course their are options in the type of insulin you take and one should really explore all these Insulin Diabetic treatment options as these can really make a difference in how easy it is to live with Type 1 diabetes. For a full list of these try this link

Diabetic Treatment Option 2 – Edmonton Protocol

This is made out to be the holy grail for type 1 diabetics.  Simply put, islet cells from a deceased person are surgically implanted into the you – the diabetic (don’t worry this isn’t the stuff of Frankenstein) and you then inject anti rejection drugs for the rest of your life.  The success rate has improved dramatically but it is still only recommended for the severest of cases.  These being people with unrecognized hypoglycemia where by their life is in danger.  Most people still don’t become insulin free but their requirements change dramatically due to the assistance of the islet cells.

Keep in mind, for this Diabetic treatment, you are still going to have to test, and inject.  Your immune system becomes compromised, putting you at increased risk of infections.  The advantage will be, how easy it is to get control.

Type 2

Diabetes treatment option 1 – exercise and healthy eating

This is the mainstay of most type 2 diabetic treatment at the beginning and unfortunately the one that is hardest for most people to do.   Those that can significantly reduce their weight through exercise and a change in lifestyle (notice I didn’t say diet, this is a long term thing my friends), can actually halt the progression of their diabetes.  Unfortunately the success rate for this Diabetes treatment option is low, due to compliance and habits being hard to break.  If after 3 months of trying, you have seen no improvement in your control, don’t resist medication, you are only delaying the inevitable.

Diabetes treatment option 2 – Metformin

Metformin is the “goto” drug for all newly diagnosed diabetics.  It’s side effect profile is low (at the starting dose) and it has been shown to potentially have a positive effect on reducing cancer risk.  However, its limitation is that it can produce severe stomach and bowel issues at the highest dose.  Once you are on over 1000mg a day, you have received 80% of this drug’s benefit (in generalities), so save yourself the stomach issues and suggest to your Dr to try something in addition to metformin rather than going to the higher doses.

Diabetes treatment option 3 – Sulphonylureas

The next option is what they refer to as “insulin secretagogues” . This is simply a fancy term for a product that causes more insulin to be released.  The problem is, this drug causes it to do so in an all or nothing way.  That means once you take it, you have to eat!   Naturally this diabetic treatment product is associated with weight gain which is one of its downsides and also low blood glucose.  There are different options available which have varying lengths of effect, so discussing what these are with your health care provider could help you manage your diabetes (gluconorm is the shortest acting of these options).

Diabetes treatment option 4 – TZD’s

This drug has really fallen out of favor for a variety of reasons, none of which I wish to give my opinion on as even the worlds leading scientists cannot agree on where its place is in treating diabetes.  Bottom line, this drug causes weight gain, specifically oedema (fancy word for water retention) but has the benefit of making the user of this diabetic treatment option, more sensitive to their insulin.

Diabetes treatment option 5 – Incretins

These drugs are made up of 2 sub groups.  DPP4 inhibitors (such as januvia,onglyza, tragenta) and GLP-1 Analogs (such as Victoza and Byetta).  The inhibitors stop the break down of incretins.  Incretins  increase the insulin given by the body and prevents glucose being released by the liver.  They are in pill form (the advantage) but are not as effective as lowering A1c’s as the Analaogs.  The real benefit of the Analogs (fancy word for modified human GLP-1), is the amount of weight loss that occurs with them, and the large reductions in A1c.  Some argue the disadvantage is that they are injectable, but like anything, one has to weigh (no pun intended), the pros and the cons before deciding.

The biggest benefit, is these drugs bring sugars under control without increasing the risk of hypoglycemia.  However they are rather costly, so one has to consider this when looking at the benefits of this diabetic treatment option.

Diabetic treatment option 6 – Insulin

Those with type 2 should never fear gong on this.  It is still by far and away the best way to get sugars under control in any part of the disease.  It need not be complicated nor is it a reflection of how someone has previously managed their disease.  Ultimately, if your doctor is suggesting to use this product, you should be hugging them as they truly want whats best for you (although you might now feel it at the time).

And Now For The Myths!

Chinese Herbs:

If they were that good, then the Chinese would not be having one of the fastest growing type 2 diabetic populations in the world – that is all I have to say on that one

Low Carb Diet:

This high cost diet is a short term fix to a long term problem.  The benefit isn’t in the carb ratios but more the fact people can loose weight at a dangerously fast rate.  It is unsustainable and the same effect could be achieved without the cost by simply changing ones diet to more whole foods (basically things that don’t come in a package) and less simple sugars (eliminating pop would be an example of this).  Don’t be taken advantage of online by those making claims about this.  Do your research and save your money!

 

So there you have it.  Diabetic treatment options in a nut shell. Like all things, knowledge is power, so if any of these peaked your interest, then do some more research into their place in your life.

Now you know the drill.  Good control is related to good testing, so…. Go forth and test!

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