Conventional treatments for diabetes mostly involve insulin injections and medications to control diabetes. Diabetes is a common condition, but its treatments vary according to each individual’s state. Unfortunately, since diabetes is incurable, such treatments will just help manage the condition and must usually continue throughout life.
There are quite a few different types of medications which might be prescribed to you depending on the type of diabetes you have and its progression. For type 2 diabetics, conventional treatments for diabetes would mainly involve medicines that focus on maintaining blood sugar levels. While prescribing these medications, your doctor will usually give you a strict schedule to follow concerning the timing for taking the medicine i.e. before, after or during eating.
The thing about diabetes is that you will need to keep a constant watch on your blood sugar level to be sure that your medication is working. Type 2 diabetes gets worse over time, and there is a chance that the medicine that was doing the trick for you a year ago is no longer effective and needs replacement.
Other than medications, there are a few other conventional treatments for diabetes that are available. Some options include:
- Insulin Injections
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to help convert the glucose in your blood to energy. For type 1 diabetics and some type 2 diabetics, the pancreas is no longer producing insulin. Insulin injections are the only course of action.
As far as conventional treatments for diabetes go, insulin injections are one of the most common ones. They are usually taken with a syringe and needle and just need to be injected into the skin. They can be injected in many areas of the body, the most common ones being the stomach, thighs or butts.
- Pancreas Transplant
For patients suffering from type 1 diabetes, a pancreas transplant is an option. It involves the implantation of the whole or several parts of the pancreas of a donor. The existing pancreas is left alone and continues to perform its other hormone releasing functions.
Pancreas transplant is mostly recommended to those with severe complications in their diabetes. Because of the fact that the body might reject the new pancreas, the risk factors associated with the treatment may not be worth it. Also, the transplant will usually be accompanied by strong immunosuppressant drugs that lower immunity to other diseases.
- Islet Transplant
Another treatment available to type 1 diabetics is the islet transplant surgery. It is worth noting that this minor surgery is safer and cheaper than the pancreas transplant.
Islets are the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This transplant surgery looks to replace your islets with those of a donor. The operation needs to be performed twice in life and is highly recommended for those who have experienced one or more hypos already.
The islet transplant can be a life changer for someone who is a longtime insulin-taker. Such people can no longer identify when their blood glucose is low, and this treatment can improve their quality of life.
- Kidney Transplant or Dialysis
In severe cases, diabetes might damage the kidneys to the extent that they need to be replaced, and most conventional treatments for diabetes go out of the window. You have the option of replacing your kidney function with regular dialysis or go for a kidney transplant.
Dialysis uses an artificial kidney to clean the blood of impurities. It is a regular exercise that needs to be performed with exceeding care to keep diabetes under control. There are two types of dialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and hemodialysis. The other option to go for in case of complete kidney failure is a kidney transplant.
The fact of the matter is many conventional treatments for diabetes may be recommended to you by your doctor. But unless you go out of your way to keep an eye on your blood glucose and try to maintain it, these treatments would be quite useless.