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diabetes FAQ: treatment (part 3 of 5)
Section - My diabetic father isn't taking care of himself. What can I do?

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We'll assume your father has type 2 diabetes. See separate section for
definition of types.

Type 2 diabetics, and those who care for them, are in a difficult situation.
Type 2 strikes late in life, so personal habits and patterns are already
formed and solidly engrained. Yet in most cases those habits and patterns are
exactly what must be changed if a newly-diagnosed diabetic is to care
properly for his or her health. This is a difficult psychological problem.

The cornerstones for treating type 2 diabetes are exercise, weight control,
and diet. A high percentage of type 2 patients who apply these therapies
assiduously can control the disease with these therapies alone, without
insulin or oral hypoglycemic drugs. Naturally these are also some of the most
difficult aspects of life to change. There can be no single or simple answer
of how to help or encourage a particular individual find a combination of
therapies which not only controls the disease but also is psychologically
acceptable and which can be incorporated as a lifetime pattern. Helping
depends on knowing the individual's habits, patterns, motivations, desires,
likes and dislikes, and working with all the existing conditions and
everything brought forward from past life.

Doctors and other health care professionals have a choice in treating
patients with type 2 diabetes. They can prescribe drugs (oral hypoglycemics)
and insulin, or they can try to get their patients to make the difficult
lifestyle changes described above. (Many patients need both.) The latter
effort is time consuming and often frustrating, as doctors too often see
patients failing to make any change at all.

Friends and family can help by learning about type 2 diabetes, and doing what
you can to encourage your loved one to make diet and lifestyle changes. If
this supports the plan a treatment team is urging the patient to follow, you
will add your support for difficult changes. If the doctor (or the whole
treatment team) falls down on the educational and motivational structure, you
can fill in some of the gaps. Your effort is well spent in either case.

In particular, if a doctor has left the impression that drugs and insulin are
the only treatments, make sure to counter that impression with information
about the value of exercise, diet, and weight control.

At the same time, it's important to remember that needing oral hypoglycemics
and/or insulin injections as additional tools isn't failure. On the contrary,
a patient who's been actively involved in self treatment already has an
excellent chance of using these additional tools successfully. Those who have
learned to use the exercise - weight control - diet triumvirate will also be
able to utilize insulin and oral drugs as additional treatments when needed.
Choose the appropriate tools and use them effectively.

These treatment choices can interact in positive ways as well. Bringing blood
glucose under control often increases the body's sensitivity to insulin. So
ironically, using insulin may decrease the need for insulin. This is a
positive change which can then be reinforced by the other, interacting

You will need far more information than is appropriate for a Usenet FAQ
panel. As a start, call the ADA (see ADA section), get a subscription to
_Diabetes Forecast_ (see journals), and visit a university library and browse
in the diabetes section in the stacks.

Beyond the generalizations above, a few specifics are usually of value:

    Set a good example in your own life. Exercise and eat a good diet.
    The recommendations for diabetics are healthy choices for anyone.

    Share your example. Serve a tasty, low-fat diet to family and friends
    when they are your guests.

    Suggest joint activities. Suggest a walk instead of watching a
    ball game.

    Make sure your diet and activities are visibly enjoyable so your
    guests will accept your invitiation to join you.

User Contributions:

Raqiba Shihab
Report this comment as inappropriate
May 10, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
Many thanks. My husband has Type 2 diabetes and we were a bit concerned about his blood sugar/glucose levels because he was experiencing symptoms of hyperglyceamia. We used a glucometer which displays the reading mg/dl so in my need to know what the difference
between and mg/dl and mmol/l is, i came across your article and was so pleased to aquire a lot more info regarding blood glucose, how to read and convert it.
Report this comment as inappropriate
Aug 11, 2012 @ 9:09 am
It was really informative and useful for people who don't know conversion. Thanks to you

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Top Document: diabetes FAQ: treatment (part 3 of 5)
Previous Document: Table of Contents
Next Document: Managing adolescence, including the adult forms

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