How to Manage Diabetes 0

06.10.2016

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How to Manage Diabetes

Keeping blood sugar levels under control is important as high sugar levels have been shown to significantly increase the risk of health problems (complications) developing later in life.

The long term aim of managing diabetes is to:

  • Protect Your heart, nerves, blood vessels, eyes, and kidneys by controlling blood glucose level.

To achieve this what you need to do every day is:

  • Maintain schedule for checking blood glucose level and taking your medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Maintain well-balanced meal plan, exercise program, and healthy weight.

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What treatments are available for type 2 diabetes

Management of type 2 diabetes includes:

  • Healthy eating
  • Regular exercise
  • Possibly, diabetes medication or insulin therapy
  • Blood sugar monitoring

These steps will help keep your blood sugar level closer to normal, which can delay or prevent complications.

The aim of treating type 2 diabetes is primarily to help control blood glucose levels but another key aim is to help with weight loss or weight management.

Keeping blood sugar levels under control is important as high sugar levels have been shown to significantly increase the risk of health problems (complications) developing later in life.

Type 2 diabetes can be treated by a number of different methods ranging from lifestyle adjustments to tablet medication and injections, through to bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery).

Lifestyle changes are advised for everyone with type 2 diabetes, with medications available if blood glucose levels are too high without drug treatments.

Medication

Some people who have type 2 diabetes can achieve their target blood sugar levels with diet and exercise alone, but many also need diabetes medications or insulin therapy. The decision about which medications are best depends on many factors, including your blood sugar level and any other health problems you have. Your doctor may want to combine drugs from different classes to help you control your blood sugar in several different ways.

The main role of diabetes medication is to help lower blood glucose levels, although more recently developed medications may also support weight loss. Each form of medication has side effects and it is important to be aware of what the side effects are. Known side effects will be detailed in the patient information leaflet in every pack of medication.

You may be put onto medication as soon you are diagnosed. Sometimes your doctor may suggest medication some time after diagnosing if your blood glucose levels start to become too high.

You can be moved onto stronger medication if blood glucose levels begin to get too high. By contrast, you can also be moved onto less strong medication if your blood glucose levels improve. Whilst less common, some people may even be able to come off medication, particularly if significant weight loss is achieved.

Please note, that diabetes medication needs to be supported with diet changes and regular physical activity to keep you healthy.

Medication for type 2 diabetes includes tablets and/or injectable medication.

Examples of possible treatments for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Metformin Generally, metformin is the first medication prescribed for type 2 diabetes. It works by improving the sensitivity of your body tissues to insulin so that your body uses insulin more effectively. Metformin also lowers glucose production in the liver. Metformin may not lower blood sugar enough on its own. Your doctor will also recommend lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and becoming more active. Nausea and diarrhea are possible side effects of metformin. These side effects usually go away as your body gets used to the medicine. If metformin and lifestyles changes aren't enough to control your blood sugar level, other oral or injected medications can be added.
  • Sulfonylureas. These medications help your body secrete more insulin. Possible side effects include low blood sugar and weight gain.
  • Meglitinides. These medications work like sulfonylureas by stimulating the pancreas to secrete more insulin, but they're faster acting, and the duration of their effect in the body is shorter. They also have a risk of causing low blood sugar, but this risk is lower than with sulfonylureas. Weight gain is a possibility with this class of medications as well.
  • Thiazolidinediones. Like metformin, these medications make the body's tissues more sensitive to insulin. This class of medications has been linked to weight gain and other more-serious side effects, such as an increased risk of heart failure and fractures. Because of these risks, these medications generally aren't a first-choice treatment.
  • DPP-4 inhibitors. These medications help reduce blood sugar levels, but tend to have a modest effect. They don't cause weight gain.
  • GLP-1 receptor agonists. These medications slow digestion and help lower blood sugar levels, though not as much as sulfonylureas. Their use is often associated with some weight loss. This class of medications isn't recommended for use by itself. Possible side effects include nausea and an increased risk of pancreatitis.
  • SGLT2 inhibitors. These are the newest diabetes drugs on the market. They work by preventing the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar into the blood. Instead, the sugar is excreted in the urine. Side effects may include yeast infections and urinary tract infections, increased urination and hypotension.
  • Insulin therapy. Some people who have type 2 diabetes need insulin therapy as well. In the past, insulin therapy was used as a last resort, but today it's often prescribed sooner because of its benefits.

Because normal digestion interferes with insulin taken by mouth, insulin must be injected. Depending on your needs, your doctor may prescribe a mixture of insulin types to use throughout the day and night. Often, people with type 2 diabetes start insulin use with one long-acting shot at night.

Insulin injections involve using a fine needle and syringe or an insulin pen injector — a device that looks similar to an ink pen, except the cartridge is filled with insulin.

There are many types of insulin, and they each work in a different way.

Discuss the pros and cons of different drugs with your doctor. Together you can decide which medication is best for you after considering many factors, including costs and other aspects of your health.

In addition to diabetes medications, your doctor might prescribe low-dose aspirin therapy as well as blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications to help prevent heart and blood vessel disease.

 

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