Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often appear suddenly and are often the reason for checking blood sugar levels. Because symptoms of other types of diabetes and prediabetes come on more gradually or may not be evident, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has recommended screening guidelines. The ADA recommends that the following people be screened for diabetes:
Healthy eating. Contrary to popular perception, there's no specific diabetes diet. You'll need to center your diet on more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains — foods that are high in nutrition and fiber and low in fat and calories — and cut down on saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and sweets. In fact, it's the best eating plan for the entire family. Sugary foods are OK once in a while, as long as they're counted as part of your meal plan.
The carbohydrates are balanced throughout the day with each meal containing 2-3 carb servings (30-45 grams of carbohydrates) and each snack containing around 1 carb serving (15 grams of carbohydrates). The calorie and carbohydrate totals are listed next to each meal and snack so you can swap foods with similar nutrition in and out as you like. Eating with diabetes doesn't need to be difficult—choose a variety of nutritious foods, as we do in this diet meal plan, and add in daily exercise for a healthy and sustainable approach to managing diabetes.
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Weight loss: Dropping extra pounds can help. While losing 5% to 10% of your body weight is good, losing 7% and keeping it off seems to be ideal. That means someone who weighs 180 pounds can change their blood sugar levels by losing around 13 pounds. Weight loss can seem overwhelming, but portion control and eating healthy foods are a good place to start.
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The earliest oral diabetes drugs were the sulfonylureas. These work by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin. The oldest of these drugs still on the market is chlorpropamide (Diabinese), which has been used for more than 50 years. The second-generation sulfonylureas are taken once or twice a day. They include glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL), glyburide (Micronase, DiaBeta, Glynase), and glimepiride (Amaryl).
Portion control comes naturally when you choose the right grains, proteins and fats. You don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight if you’re eating the right kind of food. However, eating in moderation never hurt anyone, even if they have to make a conscious effort at it in the beginning. Eat the right foods to regulate satiety, but eat slowly and chew your food well. That way, your brain has a chance to let you know when you’re full. If you gobble your food in no time, you mess up your digestion and eat a lot more than you need to.
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). If your blood sugar level drops below your target range, it's known as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). If you're taking medication that lowers your blood sugar, including insulin, your blood sugar level can drop for many reasons, including skipping a meal and getting more physical activity than normal. Low blood sugar also occurs if you take too much insulin or an excess of a glucose-lowering medication that promotes the secretion of insulin by your pancreas.
Often, people with type 2 diabetes start using insulin with one long-acting shot at night, such as insulin glargine (Lantus) or insulin detemir (Levemir). Discuss the pros and cons of different drugs with your doctor. Together you can decide which medication is best for you after considering many factors, including costs and other aspects of your health.
You should report any side effects that are not listed in the patient information leaflet to your doctor. In the case of type 1 diabetes this is likely unless research finds an alternative treatment. It is not so uncommon for people with type 2 diabetes to come off medication. This is particularly a possibility for people who have successfully lost a lot of weight.