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Can I Treat Diabetes Without Drugs?

If you have type 1  diabetes, you must take daily insulin injections to keep your blood glucose in a normal range. Your body produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a vital hormone that helps your body convert food into energy. Without insulin, you would die.

If you have type 2 diabetes, the answer to this question is much less clear. Many people can keep their blood glucose in a healthy range without medications (either oral diabetes medications or insulin injections) if they lose weight and keep their weight down, are regularly physically active, and follow a meal plan that helps them keep portion sizes under control and helps them spread the amount of carbohydrate they eat at each meal throughout the day.

Eventually, however, many people with type 2 diabetes find that despite their best efforts, weight control, exercise and diet aren't enough to keep their blood glucose in a healthy range. This is not unusual. One theory is that some people's insulin-producing cells just get tired out from having to produce more and more insulin because their cells are resistant to the effects of insulin.

If your healthcare team tells you that you need to take oral diabetes medications or insulin injections to manage your blood glucose, it's important that you follow their instructions. Keeping your blood glucose in a healthy range is key to preventing long-term complications, such as eye disease, kidney disease, heart attacks, and other problems that poorly controlled blood glucose can cause over a period of years.

Page last updated: December 18, 2014