Managing diabetes

Although diabetes cannot yet be cured, it can often be successfully managed. The main aim of treatment is to achieve normal levels of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol to maintain a person’s quality of life and prevent or delay any health complications.

Type 1 diabetes is treated with regular insulin injections and a healthy diet plus regular exercise. For Type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet, weight loss and taking more exercise can make a difference. Medications to balance blood glucose levels and insulin may also be needed.

One of the most important elements of managing diabetes is to monitor blood glucose levels through a measurement known as HbA1c. This test measures the amount of glucose carried by the red blood cells. There is consensus that achieving control of blood sugar should be a major goal of diabetes management. However, many people are still not achieving recommended blood sugar targets despite lifestyle changes and pharmacologic therapy.

Efforts to achieve control of blood sugar can sometimes lead to complications such as low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia) and weight gain. Hypoglycaemia is a serious complication that can cause a spectrum of symptoms. Given that many people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight, minimising both weight gain and hypoglycaemia should also be considered in managing diabetes.

If appropriate, regular blood glucose testing can be carried out by the person with diabetes themselves. Using a small hand-held meter device and single drop of blood at a time, people with diabetes can check their blood glucose levels within less than a minute. This helps them maintain day-to-day control, detect hypoglycaemia and assess control during any illness. 

Roche’s diagnostics team works closely with healthcare practitioners to ensure people with diabetes have access to the most appropriate monitoring systems and devices. We would like to see everyone who could appropriately benefit from self-monitoring to be able to do so.