Diabetes Treatment

Diabetes is managed through diet, exercise, and medications (if these are recommended). Your health care team at the Virginia Mason Hospital & Seattle Medical Center will work with you to create a meal plan that best suits your needs, counsel you on an appropriate exercise program and educate you about medications and insulin.

Individuals with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to replace the insulin that is no longer being made naturally in the body.

For people with type 2 diabetes, an individualized meal plan and exercise program may be enough to bring blood glucose levels into a normal range. When this is not the case, your doctor may prescribe oral medications and possibly insulin to effectively manage your disease.

It is important to note that medication alone cannot control diabetes. Exercise and good eating habits must be continued to help keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible.

Gestational Diabetes Treatment

Treatment for women with gestational diabetes, which occurs only during pregnancy, is aimed toward keeping blood sugar levels at the levels a pregnant woman would have who does not have gestational diabetes.

To accomplish this goal, a registered dietitian at Virginia Mason will work with you to develop a meal plan suited to your special needs.

Your doctor may also recommend that you check your blood sugar levels every day and may prescribe insulin. (Unlike many drugs, insulin does not cross the placental barrier to your baby.)

If You Have an Acute Illness

Acute illnesses such as infections can affect your ability to control diabetes and can lead to serious diabetic complications, such as ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar coma and severe dehydration. Your health care provider will give you instructions about how to care for diabetes during acute illnesses, and you can learn to avoid acute complications through patient education.

Diabetes Education

You can learn more about managing diabetes through one of the many Diabetes Education Program courses offered at Virginia Mason. These comprehensive, two-day classes cover every aspect of diabetes care. They are available to anyone with diabetes and are covered by most insurance plans. These courses are also covered under Medicare. Scholarships are also available.