There have been a number of new developments in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and a question often asked is whether some of the type 2 therapies might be beneficial for people with type 1 diabetes. The first thing to think about here is that there is nothing about having type 1 diabetes which inherently prevents one from having features of type 2. Furthermore, many of the drugs used in treating type 2 diabetes work to lower the blood glucose level to some extent independent of insulin – and so we might wonder whether, regardless of the “type” of diabetes, they could have generally beneficial effect. Although GLP-1 itself cannot be given as a treatment because it is rapidly cleared from the circulation, there are long-acting forms of GLP-1, including exenatide (Byetta and Bydureon), liraglutide (Victoza), albiglutide (Tanzeum), and dulaglutide (Trulicity). An even newer form of treatment is to give medicines which inhibit the kidneys’ reabsorption of glucose.
None of the “type 2” medicines will replace insulin for people with type 1 diabetes – and it would be very dangerous to try this, because of the risk of severely uncontrolled blood glucose if insulin levels fall too low. The Diabetes Media Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit media organization devoted to informing, educating, and generating community around living a healthy life with diabetes.
Once people are diagnosed, the primary goals of type 2 diabetes treatments are to control glucose levels and to reduce other conditions that put patients at risk for major complications.
Some people find changes to diet and exercise sufficient treatments for type 2 diabetes, but many others require medication and insulin therapy. For example, several years ago, one of my patients with type 1 diabetes was having trouble with weight and with blood glucose control on a basal-bolus insulin combination. If we think about it, the prevalence of type 2 is about one tenth among all adults, and about one quarter among those age 65 and older. This is generally regarded as a basic treatment for type 2, and there have been a few studies of its use in type 1 diabetes going back a number of years. These medicines are increasingly being studied and used in type 2 diabetic people taking insulin, and in many studies are as effective as insulin itself.
In a healthy adult, almost 200 grams of glucose go through the kidneys every day – and it all is reabsorbed.


After about four months, even though he was happy with having lost weight and with his level of control, he began to notice frequent hypoglycemic episodes, despite our reducing his insulin doses. And there is a counterargument, that there is no point taking an extra medication just to be able to use a bit less insulin. Bloomgarden is a clinician in private practice with an international reputation for writing and lecturing on diabetes, having authored more than 450 articles.
Generally, the goal is to keep one's blood sugar stable and doctors may set levels specific to each person.
While there is no one diabetes diet, patients are encouraged to eat nutritious, low-calorie foods.
Medication regimes are individual, based on each person's medical history, other diseases, and individual factors. Features of insulin resistance – what has been called “metabolic syndrome” – are even more common. In diabetes, with the higher blood glucose levels the transporter proteins that do this are even more active, so that more glucose can be reabsorbed. As many people with type 1 diabetes are able to produce some insulin, if we can make this work more effectively it seems likely that a person’s own insulin would have desirable effects in lowering glucose levels.
He is Clinical Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and is Editor of the Journal of Diabetes. Treatments for type 2 diabetes are life-long – there is no pill to cure this chronic disease. Yet metformin (Glucophage) is often prescribed; this diabetes medication lowers glucose production in the liver. There are many different types of insulin and doctors may prescribe a mixture based on individual factors.
Doctors may recommend regular exercise, limiting alcohol, the cessation of smoking, among others.


Then we added exenatide (Byetta) before breakfast and dinner, and he started to get much better control, lost some weight, and felt much better.
In the liver and in skeletal muscle, metformin has actions similar to those of insulin, and it appears to work in the gastrointestinal tract as well to increase production of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). The new medicines block much of this activity, and people with type 2 diabetes taking canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), empagliflozin (Jardiance), and others in development tend to lose weight (the increased urine glucose could account for a 200 calorie per day energy deficit) and have lower blood pressure, as well as having a substantial reduction in blood glucose levels. Doctors may have people check their blood sugar daily or several times a week; it varies by individual.
They may also prescribe certain medications like ACE inhibitors and diuretics to lower blood pressure, statins and fibrates to lower cholesterol, or aspirin and clopidogrel to control clotting.
In fact, the EURODIAB study, which followed more than 3000 people with type 1 diabetes, and the DCCT study of intensive control of more than 1000 people with type 1 diabetes, both found that features of type 2 diabetes and of metabolic syndrome such as weight gain, elevated triglycerides, and elevated blood pressure all track together. He has continued to maintain his lower weight and excellent control for the past five years. A reasonable approach will be to carefully do studies of all these medicines in people with type 1 diabetes – and to individualize, individualize, individualize. Some people can manage their diabetes with changes to diet and exercise, while others require medication.
If patients are conscientious, they can still enjoy active, healthy lives, even with the disease.
Always consult a doctor before beginning an exercise regime, but for most people, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise combined with strength training, most days of the week, is ideal.



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