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Diabetes Information

-Diabetes Facts
-History of Diabetes
-Causes of Diabetes
-Diabetes Complications
-Diabetes Education
-Diabetes Research

Diabetes Mellitus

-Diabetes Mellitus Symptoms
-Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
-Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
-Diabetes Mellitus Treatment

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes
-Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
-Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms
-Type 1 Diabetes Diet
-Type 1 Diabetes Cure

Type 2 Diabetes
-Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
-Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
-Type 2 Diabetes Causes
-Type 2 Diabetes Diet
-Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes
-Type 2 Diabetes Medications

Gestational Diabetes
-Gestational Diabetes Test
-Gestational Diabetes Symptoms
-Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan
-Gestational Diabetes Treatment

Juvenile Diabetes
-Juvenile Diabetes Symptoms
-Juvenile Diabetes Treatment

Diabetes Insipidus
-Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus
-Treatment for Diabetes Insipidus

Feline Diabetes

Diabetes Symptoms
Signs of Diabetes 
Also: Diabetes Sign Symptoms 
-Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
Also: Type II Diabetes Symptoms
-Gestational Diabetes Symptoms
-Symptoms, Juvenile Diabetes
Also: Diabetes Symptoms in Child

(see also Blood Glucose)
-Glucose Level
Also: Blood Glucose Level
-Glucose Meter
Also: Blood Glucose Meter
-Glucose Monitor
Also: Blood Glucose Monitor
-Glucose Test
Also: Glucose Tolerance Test
-Glucose Intolerance

Diabetes Diet
-Diabetes Food
-Diabetes Nutrition
-Diabetes Diet Plan
-Type 2 Diabetes Diet

Diabetes Supply
-Diabetes Testing Supply

Diabetes Treatment
-Diabetes Medications
-Alternative Treatment for Diabetes

-Insulin Resistance
-Insulin Pump
-Lantus Insulin

Diabetes Care
-Diabetes Management
-Diabetes Associations
-Diabetes Prevention
-Diabetes Cure

Diabetes is the No. 6 leading causes of deaths in the United States, according to 2001 data  from the United States National Center for Health Statistics.

Diabetes Treatment
(Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus)

Controlling your blood sugar is essential to feeling healthy and avoiding long-term complications of diabetes. Some people are able to control their blood sugar with diet and exercise alone. Others may need to use insulin or other medications in addition to lifestyle changes. In either case, monitoring your blood sugar is a key part of your treatment program.

A healthy diet and exercise should be placed as a priority for diabetes treatment.  Second, you might also try some of the diabetes treatment using alternative medicine.  Third, follow your doctor's prescriptions.  And last, pancreas or islet cell transplantation may be an option for people whose kidneys are failing or who aren't responding to other treatments.

Monitoring blood sugar

If you've just received a diagnosis of diabetes, monitoring your blood sugar may seem like an overwhelming task. But once you learn to measure your blood sugar and understand how important it is, you'll feel more comfortable with the procedure and more in control of your disease. Testing is crucial because it tells you whether you're keeping your glucose levels in the range you and your doctor have agreed on.

The best range for you depends on your age and the type of diabetes you have. For younger adults who don't have complications of diabetes, a typical target range might be 80 to 120 mg/dL before meals, and below 180 mg/dL after eating. Older adults who have complications from their disease may have a fasting target goal of 100 to 140 mg/dL and below 200 mg/dL after meals. That's because blood sugar that falls too low in older adults can be more dangerous than in younger people.

How often you test your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have. If you take insulin, test your blood sugar at least twice a day, and preferably three or four times a day. But if you have type 2 diabetes and don't use insulin, you may need to test your blood sugar levels only once a day or as little as twice a week.

Keep in mind that the amount of sugar in your blood is constantly changing. Self-monitoring helps you learn what makes your blood sugar levels rise and fall, so you can make adjustments in your treatment. Factors that affect your blood sugar include:

  • Food. Food raises your blood sugar level ? it's highest one to two hours after a meal. What and how much you eat, and the time of day, also affect your blood sugar level.

  • Exercise and physical activity. In general, the more active you are, the lower your blood sugar. Physical activity causes sugar to be transported to your cells, where it's used for energy, thereby lowering the levels in your blood. Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, jogging or biking are especially good. But gardening, housework and even just being on your feet all day also can lower your blood sugar.

  • Medications. Insulin and oral diabetes medications deliberately work to lower your blood sugar. But medications you take for other conditions may affect glucose levels. Corticosteroids, in particular, may raise blood sugar levels. Medications such as thiazides, used to control high blood pressure, and niacin, used for high cholesterol, also may increase blood sugar. If you need to take certain high blood pressure medications, your doctor will likely make changes in your diabetes treatment.

  • Illness. The physical stress of a cold or other illness causes your body to produce hormones that raise your blood sugar level. The additional sugar helps promote healing. But if you have diabetes, this can be a problem. In addition, a fever increases your metabolism and how quickly sugar is utilized, which can alter the amount of insulin you need. For these reasons, be sure to monitor your glucose levels frequently when you're sick.

  • Alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol ? about 2 ounces ? can cause your sugar levels to fall too low. But sometimes alcohol can cause sugar levels to rise. If you choose to drink, do so only in moderation. And monitor your blood sugar before and after consuming alcohol to see how it affects you. Also, keep in mind that alcohol counts as carbohydrate calories in your diet.

  • Fluctuations in hormone levels. The female hormone estrogen typically makes cells more responsive to insulin, and progesterone makes cells more resistant. Although these two hormones fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle, the majority of women don't notice a corresponding change in blood sugar levels. Those who do are more likely to experience changes in blood sugar during the third week of their menstrual cycle, when estrogen and progesterone levels are highest.

Hormone levels also fluctuate during perimenopause ? the time before menopause. How this affects blood sugar varies, but most women can control any symptoms with additional exercise and changes in their diet. If your symptoms are more severe, your doctor may recommend oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy (HRT). After menopause, many women with diabetes require about 20 percent less medication because their cells are more sensitive to insulin.

A healthy diet

Contrary to popular myth, there's no "diabetes diet." Furthermore, having diabetes doesn't mean you have to eat only bland, boring foods. Instead, it means you'll eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains ? foods that are high in nutrition and low in fat and calories ? and fewer animal products and sweets. Actually, it's the same eating plan all Americans should follow.

Yet understanding what and how much to eat can be a challenging task. Fortunately, a registered dietitian can help you put together a meal plan that fits your health goals, food preferences and lifestyle. Once you've decided on a meal plan, keep in mind that consistency is extremely important. To keep your blood sugar at a consistent level, try to eat the same amount of food with the same proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats at the same time every day.

But even with all the information you need and the best intentions, sticking to your diet can be one of the most challenging parts of living with diabetes. The key is to find ways to stay motivated. Don't let others undermine your determination to eat in the healthiest way possible. You have to believe that what you're doing matters ? and that you're worth it.


Everyone needs regular aerobic exercise, and people with diabetes are no exception. The good news is that the same exercises that are good for your heart and lungs also help lower your blood sugar levels.

See your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Once you have the go-ahead, take some time to think about which activities you enjoy and are likely to stick with. Walking, hiking, jogging, biking, tennis, cross-country skiing and swimming are all good choices.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days. But if you haven't been active for a while, start slowly and build up gradually. For the best results, combine your aerobic activity with stretching and strength-training exercises.

Healthy weight

Being overweight is the greatest risk factor for type 2 diabetes. That's because fat makes your cells more resistant to insulin. But when you lose weight, the process reverses and your cells become more receptive to insulin. For some people with type 2 diabetes, weight loss is all that's needed to restore blood sugar to normal. Furthermore, a modest weight loss of 10 to 20 pounds is often enough.

Yet losing even 10 pounds can be a challenge for most people. Fortunately, you don't have to do it alone. A registered dietitian can help you develop a weight-loss plan that takes into account your current weight, activity level, age and overall health. Ultimately, however, the motivation has to come from you.


When diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight aren't enough, you may need the help of medication. Medications used to treat diabetes include insulin. Everyone with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes must take insulin every day to replace what their pancreas is unable to produce. Unfortunately, insulin can't be taken in pill form because enzymes in your stomach break it down so that it becomes ineffective. For that reason, many people inject themselves with insulin using a syringe or an insulin pen injector ? a device that looks like a pen, except the cartridge is filled with insulin. Others may use an insulin pump, which provides a continuous supply of insulin, eliminating the need for daily shots.

An insulin pump is a pumping device about the size of a deck of cards. You wear it outside your body. A small tube connects the reservoir of insulin to a catheter that's inserted under the skin of your abdomen. The pump dispenses the desired amount of insulin into your body and can be adjusted to infuse more or less insulin depending on meals, activity and glucose level. Insulin pumps aren't for everyone. But for some people they provide improved blood sugar control and a more flexible lifestyle.

The most widely used form of insulin is synthetic human insulin, which is chemically identical to human insulin but manufactured in a laboratory. Unfortunately, synthetic human insulin isn't perfect. One of its chief failings is that it doesn't mimic the way natural insulin is secreted. But newer types of insulin, known as insulin analogs, more closely resemble the way natural insulin acts in your body. Among these are lispro (Humalog), insulin aspart (NovoLog) and glargine (Lantus).

A number of drug options exist for treating type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Sulfonylurea drugs. These medications stimulate your pancreas to produce and release more insulin. For them to be effective, your pancreas must produce some insulin on its own. Second-generation sulfonylureas such as glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase) and glimepiride (Amaryl) are prescribed most often. The most common side effect of sulfonylureas is low blood sugar, especially during the first four months of therapy. You're at much greater risk of low blood sugar if you have impaired liver or kidney function.

  • Meglitinides. These medications, such as repaglinide (Prandin), have effects similar to sulfonylureas, but you're not as likely to develop low blood sugar. Meglitinides work quickly, and the results fade rapidly.

  • Biguanides. Metformin (Glucophage, Glucophage XR) is the only drug in this class available in the United States. It works by inhibiting the production and release of glucose from your liver, which means you need less insulin to transport blood sugar into your cells. One advantage of metformin is that is tends to cause less weight gain than do other diabetes medications. Possible side effects include a metallic taste in your mouth, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, abdominal bloating, or pain, gas and diarrhea. These effects usually decrease over time and are less likely to occur if you take the medication with food. A rare but serious side effect is lactic acidosis, which results when lactic acid builds up in your body. Symptoms include tiredness, weakness, muscle aches, dizziness and drowsiness. Lactic acidosis is especially likely to occur if you mix this medication with alcohol or have impaired kidney function.

  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. These drugs block the action of enzymes in your digestive tract that break down carbohydrates. That means sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream more slowly, which helps prevent the rapid rise in blood sugar that usually occurs right after a meal. Drugs in this class include acarbose (Precose) and miglitol (Glyset). Although safe and effective, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors can cause abdominal bloating, gas and diarrhea. If taken in high doses, they may also cause reversible liver damage.

  • Thiazolidinediones. These drugs make your body tissues more sensitive to insulin and keep your liver from overproducing glucose. Side effects of thiazolidinediones, such as rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone hydrochloride (Actos), include swelling, weight gain and fatigue. A far more serious potential side effect is liver damage. The thiazolidinedione troglitzeone (Rezulin) was taken off the market in March 2000 because it caused liver failure. If your doctor prescribes these drugs, it's important to have your liver checked every two months during the first year of therapy. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the signs and symptoms of liver damage, such as nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, or yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice). These may not always be related to diabetes medications, but your doctor will need to investigate all possible causes.

  • Drug combinations. By combining drugs from different classes, you may be able to control your blood sugar in several different ways. Each class of oral medication can be combined with drugs from any other class. Most doctors prescribe two drugs in combination, although sometimes three drugs may be prescribed. Newer medications, such as Glucovance, which contains both glyburide and metformin, combine different oral drugs in a single tablet.


In recent years, researchers have focused increasing attention on transplantation for people with type 1 diabetes. Current procedures include:

  • Pancreas transplantation. Pancreas transplants have been performed since the late 1960s. Most are done in conjunction with or after a kidney transplant. Kidney failure is one of the most common complications of diabetes, and receiving a new pancreas when you receive a new kidney may actually improve kidney survival. Furthermore, after a successful pancreas transplant, many people with diabetes no longer need to use insulin. Unfortunately, pancreas transplants aren't always successful. Your body may reject the new organ days or even years after the transplant, which means you'll need to take immunosuppressive drugs the rest of your life. These drugs are costly and can have serious side effects, including a high risk of infection and organ injury. Because the side effects can be more dangerous to your health than your diabetes, you're usually not considered a candidate for transplantation unless your diabetes can't be controlled or you're experiencing serious complications. On the other hand, pancreas transplantation may be an option if you are age 45 or younger, have type 1 diabetes and need or have had a kidney transplant, or if insulin doesn't control your blood sugar.

  • Islet cell transplantation. Your pancreas contains about 1 million islet cells, 75 percent to 80 percent of which produce insulin. The beta cells that produce insulin reside in the islets. Although still considered an experimental procedure, transplanting these cells may offer a less invasive, less expensive and less risky option than a pancreas transplant for people with diabetes. In islet cell transplantation, doctors infuse fresh pancreas cells into the liver of the person with diabetes. The cells spread throughout the liver and soon begin to produce insulin. The liver, not the pancreas, is the site of the transplant because it's easier to access the large portal vein in your liver than it is to access a vein in your pancreas. What's more, cells that grow in the liver secrete insulin much like cells in the pancreas do.

(from Mayo Clinic)

See also

Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes Medications
Alternative Treatment for Diabetes


This diabetes health education project is supported by Chong's Health Care at http://www.cljhealth.com, one of the leading companies in the discovery of alternative medicines for diabetes

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