Diabetes mellitus is currently a chronic disease, without a cure, and medical emphasis must necessarily be on managing/avoiding possible short-term as well as long-term diabetes-related problems. There is an exceptionally important role for patient education, dietetic support, sensible exercise, self monitoring of blood glucose, with the goal of keeping both short-term blood glucose levels, and long term levels as well, within acceptable bounds. Careful control is needed to reduce the risk of long term complications. This is theoretically achievable with combinations of diet, exercise and weight loss (type 2), various oral diabetic drugs (type 2 only), and insulin use (type 1 and for type 2 not responding to oral medications, mostly those with extended duration diabetes). In addition, given the associated higher risks of cardiovascular disease, lifestyle modifications should be undertaken to control blood pressure and cholesterol by exercising more, smoking less or ideally not at all, consuming an appropriate diet, wearing diabetic socks, wearing diabetic shoes, and if necessary, taking any of several drugs to reduce blood pressure. Many type 1 treatments include combination use of regular or NPH insulin, and/or synthetic insulin analogs (eg, Humalog, Novolog or Apidra) in combinations such as Lantus/Levemir and Humalog, Novolog or Apidra. Another type 1 treatment option is the use of the insulin pump (eg, from Deltec Cozmo, Animas, Medtronic Minimed, Insulet Omnipod, or ACCU-CHEK). A blood lancet is used to pierce the skin (typically of a finger), in order to draw blood to test it for sugar levels.
In countries using a general practitioner system, such as the United Kingdom, care may take place mainly outside hospitals, with hospital-based specialist care used only in case of complications, difficult blood sugar control, or research projects. In other circumstances, general practitioners and specialists share care of a patient in a team approach. Optometrists, podiatrists/chiropodists, dietitians, physiotherapists, nursing specialists (eg, DSNs (Diabetic Specialist Nurse)), nurse practitioners, or Certified Diabetes Educators, may jointly provide multidisciplinary expertise. In countries where patients must provide their own health care (i.e., in the developed world, the US, and in much of the undeveloped world), the impact of out-of-pocket costs of adequate diabetic care can be very high. In addition to the medications and supplies needed, patients are often advised to receive regular consultation from a physician.