There are two different types of diabetes mellitus, type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2. Around 10-15% of the population who suffer with diabetes are type 1, with around 85-90% suffering with type 2. Diabetes is a condition where an individual has too much glucose in their bloodstream.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the beta cells within the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s own immune system and cannot produce insulin, a hormone responsible for promoting the absorption of glucose and regulating the blood glucose levels.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the beta cells become damaged by various lifestyle factors and cannot produce enough insulin, resulting in failure of the body cells to respond adequately to the hormone.

Treatment Options for Type 1 Diabetes

Livewell Rehab in Brisbane is an organisation which provides on-going support, information, factsheets, education workshops, tests and medical treatment which can be accessed in different locations throughout South-East Queensland. The healthcare team is made up of  Exercise Physiologists, General Practitioners, Endocrinologists, Diabetes Educators, Ophthalmologists, Podiatrists, Dieticians, Counsellors, Dentists, Exercise Professionals and Aboriginal Health Workers to assist with all aspects of living with diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes management involves replacing the insulin that your body is unable to produce, by having regular injections or by using an insulin pump. The amount and type of insulin needed will vary between individuals, depending on factors such as lifestyle and individual requirements. Your doctor will work with you to make decisions about your care and appropriate management.

Checking of blood glucose levels regularly is an integral part of successful diabetes management, which you can do very simply at home.This enables you to see the effects that food, exercise, medication and illness have on your blood glucose levels and identify any patterns or changes that should be discussed with your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the correct technique and frequency for self-monitoring.

Following a healthy eating plan is also a key factor in the successful day to day management of type 1 diabetes. It is important to liaise with your dietician or diabetes educator to understand what is the right eating plan for you, to help manage your diabetes and fit with your lifestyle.

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There are five food groups which are important to incorporate into your diet. These are:

  • Vegetables and legumes
  • Fruit
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Lean meat, fish, poultry and nuts
  • Breads, cereals, rice, pasta and noodles

There are other important factors to consider which help with successful management of the condition, such as portion control, eating at regular intervals, matching insulin to the amount of carbohydrates consumed and eating enough fibre.

Physical activity also plays a vital role in the management of Type 1 diabetes. Before embarking on a high impact fitness regime, discuss what the appropriate type and amount of exercise is for you with your healthcare team. This will depend on your level of fitness and any other existing medical conditions.

The benefits of regular exercise are not only to help your mind and body feel good by maintaining a healthy weight, lowering your blood pressure, reducing your risk of heart disease and reducing stress but it also increases the effectiveness of insulin on your body.  Your diabetes healthcare team will advise you about any alterations that may be required to your normal eating and insulin regime, once you begin regular physical activity.

Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes

On diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, it is vitally important that good management habits of the condition are established as soon as possible. Although there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, with the right management, it is possible to continue to live a healthy life and in some cases achieve remission. Livewell rehab’s healthcare team are there to support you from the time of diagnosis and throughout your life, providing information, guidance, education workshops, tests and medical treatment, essential to living a full and healthy life with the condition.

Successful management of type 2 diabetes can be achieved largely through leading a healthy lifestyle, with regular physical activity, a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy weight. Alongside this, it is likely that you will be given tablets by your doctor to help manage your blood glucose levels and some people may also go on to need insulin injections. As with type 1 diabetes, It is also vitally important to regularly check your blood glucose levels at home. Your doctor will advise you on the correct technique and frequency for this and there is also a two hour practical skills workshop, which will show you the best techniques for self-monitoring.

Your dietician or diabetes educator will work with you to establish a nutritious eating plan, including the five important food groups, to help achieve optimal health and maintain blood glucose levels within the target range. There is also a three hour education workshop to help you understand the facts about carbohydrates, how they have an impact on your blood glucose levels and what amount and types of carbohydrates are best for you.

Keeping active on a daily basis is an important factor in staying healthy for anyone, especially for those with type 2 diabetes and it is also an integral part of preventing the condition occurring. It helps to maintain a healthy weight, keep blood glucose levels within the target range, relieve stress, sleep better and also meet new people for friendship and support. Remember to always discuss your exercise plans with your doctor or exercise physiologist to ensure that you are embarking on an appropriate level and type of exercise for your fitness level, which aligns with your lifestyle and other management aspects of your diabetes.

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Diabetes Queensland offers a self-management education course, called DESMOND which covers all aspects of living with type 2 diabetes and will help you to understand and manage your condition, while gaining a support network through meeting others with similar experiences.