Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Oral treatments to control blood sugar
In Type 1 diabetes, the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin are progressively attacked, stopping the production of insulin.

Insulin replacement treatment is therefore needed for life, because we cannot make the beta cells in the pancreas work again to produce insulin.

Insulin can't be taken in tablet form, because it is broken down in the digestive system. This destroys its effect. Insulin is usually given by injection, but an inhaled insulin is now also available.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is different because the pancreas still produces insulin. Instead, problems are caused because:

o insulin is produced inefficiently in response to surges of blood sugar, eg following a meal

o the insulin produced gets less effective at controlling blood sugar, because the cells in the body become increasingly resistant to it.

Treatment for Type 2 diabetes involves either improving insulin release in response to meals, or reducing the resistance of the body cells to the effect of insulin.

Diet and exercise are the first treatment used to improve insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes.

If blood sugar is not adequately controlled after at least three months of healthy eating and increasing exercise, oral medicines are used.

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