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Diabetes: More Than Insulin

Diabetes: More Than Insulin

Diabetes: More than Just Insulin

A quick look at Type 2 diabetes in contrast with Type 1 because there’s so much more to this invisible disability than people know.

Although diabetes is extremely common in the US, diagnosed in over 29 million Americans, knowledge of medication is somewhat limited.  Most education focuses solely on prevention, keeping the population in the dark about what their treatment options are in terms of medication.  Many people assume that there are two extremes of type 2 diabetes, those who are insulin dependent and those who are not. However, there are many diabetes medications available that your doctor might prescribe – it doesn’t start and end with injecting insulin.  Being aware of the drug treatments available helps adjusting to your diabetic medication routine easier, particularly since your medication needs may change over time.

If you have just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you’re likely to be put on metformin. Metformin helps your body use insulin more effectively by making the tissues of your body more sensitive to insulin.  However, metformin is not a miracle drug on its own and does have some side effects such as Combined with weight loss and exercise, this medication lowers your blood glucose to more ideal levels.  The next line of defense are sulfonylureas and meglitinides.  Under the brand names DiaBeta, Glynase, Gluctotrol, Amaryl, Prandin, and Starlix both of these types of medications help the body secrete more insulin.  Although these medications do have some side effects, such as weight gain and low blood sugar there is less risk with meglitinides because this class of drugs stays in the body for less time. There are also new medications called SGLT2 inhibitors that act defensively by preventing your kidneys from reabsorbing whatever sugar is in your blood, which may help prevent insulin responses and diabetes complications.  

Contrary to type 1 diabetes where insulin therapy is the first line of treatment since they can’t produce their own insulin, it is the last step of treatment depending on how your type 2 diabetes is progressing. Insulin is always injected, comes in many types, and its dosage varies by both time of day and amount. Some people may inject insulin in the morning, some at night, and others only need one long lasting shot each day and all administration is demonstrated by your doctor.  Keep in mind, these are only a few of the types of diabetes medications you may encounter and thoroughly educating yourself on your options as well as your current medications makes coping with your type 2 diabetes easier.

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