A Treatment Triad
Treatment for the disease won't be as simple as filling your prescription and getting back to business as usual. People living with type 1 diabetes will rely on insulin as their main weapon against complications, but diet and exercise also play an important role.
Those with type 2 diabetes may be able to use diet and exercise to effectively keep their blood sugar levels under control. Often, a little help from oral medications, insulin, or injectable drugs is also required. Needing medication to control your diabetes doesn't make you any less successful at managing your disease than someone who has been able to do it through diet and exercise only. Together, diet, exercise, and medication are simply different tools designed to help you achieve the same goal — better blood glucose control.
If you have type 1 diabetes, what you eat determines how much insulin you need to inject, so knowing how food choices affect your blood sugar is essential.
Because over 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, eating for both blood sugar control and weight loss is often a fundamental component of type 2 care. Appropriate food choices and dietary considerations for diabetes are also called medical nutrition therapy (or MNT).
Exercise is fundamental to good health and well-being. It lowers blood glucose levels, improves heart health, and promotes weight loss in overweight people with type 2 diabetes. However, people with diabetes do need to take precautions with their exercise routine to ensure that they don't experience a hypoglycemic episode.
While some people are able to successfully manage their type 2 diabetes through diet and exercise, many others require the additional assistance of oral or injectable medications.