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Diabetes Health Center

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Diagnosing Diabetes

Treating Diabetes continued...

In the second place, the long-term complications of diabetes may result from many years of high blood glucose. Research is under way to find out if this is true and to learn if careful control can help prevent complications. Meanwhile, most doctors feel that if people with diabetes keep their blood glucose levels under control, they will reduce the risk of complications.

In 1986, a National Institutes of Health panel of experts recommended that the best treatment for noninsulin-dependent diabetes is a diet that helps the person maintain normal weight. In people who are overweight, losing weight is the one treatment that is clearly effective in controlling diabetes.

In some people, exercise can help keep weight and diabetes under control. However, when diet and exercise alone can't control diabetes, two other kinds of treatment are available: oral diabetes medications and insulin. The treatment a doctor suggests depends on the person's age, lifestyle, and the severity of the diabetes.

Points to Remember

  • Diabetes treatment can reduce symptoms, like thirst and weakness, and the chances of long-term problems, like heart and eye disease.
  • If treatment with diet and exercise isn't effective, a doctor may prescribe oral medications or insulin.
  • There is no known cure for diabetes; daily treatment must continue throughout a person's lifetime.

WebMD Public Information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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