Living with Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). This is a disorder in which the body does not produce enough or respond normally to insulin, causing blood sugar (glucose) levels to be abnormally high. Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented. However, the same healthy lifestyle choices that help treat pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes can also help prevent them:

Eat healthy foods. Choose foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to prevent boredom.
Get more physical activity. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride your bike. Swim laps. If you can’t fit in a long workout, break it up into smaller sessions spread throughout the day.
Lose excess pounds. If you’re overweight, losing even 7 percent of your body weight — for example, 14 pounds (6.4 kilograms) if you weigh 200 pounds (90.9 kilograms) — can reduce the risk of diabetes. To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.

Sometimes medication is an option as well. Oral diabetes drugs such as metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, others) may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes — but healthy lifestyle choices remain essential.

Have your blood sugar checked at least once a year to check that you haven’t developed type 2 diabetes.

Alternative Medicine for Diabetes

Numerous substances have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in some studies, while other studies fail to find any benefit for blood sugar control or in lowering A1C levels. Because of the conflicting findings, there aren’t any alternative therapies that are currently recommended to help with blood sugar management.

If you decide to try an alternative therapy, don’t stop taking the medications that your doctor has prescribed. Be sure to discuss the use of any of these therapies with your doctor to make sure that they won’t cause adverse reactions or interact with your current therapy.

Additionally, there are no treatments — alternative or conventional — that can cure diabetes, so it’s critical that people who are receiving insulin therapy for diabetes don’t stop using insulin unless directed to do so by their physicians.

Coping and Support

Living with diabetes can be difficult and frustrating. Sometimes, even when you’ve done everything right, your blood sugar levels may rise. But stick with your diabetes management plan, and you’ll likely see a positive difference in your A1C when you visit your doctor.

Because good diabetes management can be time-consuming, and sometimes overwhelming, some people find it helps to talk to someone. Your doctor can probably recommend a mental health professional for you to speak with, or you may want to try a support group. Sharing your frustrations and your triumphs with people who understand what you’re going through can be very helpful. And you may find that others have great tips to share about diabetes management.