The main goal of diabetes management is to maintain blood glucose levels within the normal range as much as possible. Weight control, diet, and exercise are all important components of management. The most important and main treatment for type 2 diabetes is nutritional.
Although some people with this type of diabetes are thin, the majority of people (90%) are overweight. Losing weight, even 2 kg to 5 kg (5 lbs to 10 lbs) can help lower blood glucose levels. For many people, following a healthy diet and an exercise program may be all that is needed to help control glucose levels. For others, healthy eating and exercise alone aren't enough to lower blood glucose levels.
They may need to take medications in order to keep glucose levels within a healthy range. Medications for type 2 diabetes are usually taken by mouth in the form of tablets and should always be taken around meal times and as prescribed by the doctor. However, if blood glucose is not controlled by oral medications, a doctor may recommend insulin injections.
There are several types of oral diabetes medications, also called oral hypoglycemics, which work to lower blood glucose:
- sulfonylureas: This family of medications includes gliclazide, glimepiride, and glyburide. These medications are widely recommended for type 2 diabetes and work by stimulating the pancreas to release insulin. However, these medications don't work for type 1 diabetes.
- biguanides: These medications include metformin and work to improve insulin sensitivity and to reduce the glucose produced by the liver.
- acarbose: This type of medication prolongs the absorption of carbohydrates after a meal. For these pills to work, they must be taken with or after a meal.
- thiazolidinediones: This family of medications includes pioglitazone and rosiglitazone and they work to improve insulin sensitivity.
- meglitinides: This family of medications includes repaglinide and nateglinide. They lower postprandial (after meals) glucose levels by stimulating the pancreas to release insulin.
- dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors: This class of medications includes sitagliptin and saxagliptin. They help improve insulin release from the pancreas and decrease liver release of glucose.
- GLP-1 analogs: This class of medications includes liraglutide, which is a synthetic form of the hormone GLP-1. It helps the body release insulin when blood sugar levels are high, and also reduces the release of sugar from the liver. It is taken as a daily injection under the skin.
- SGLT-2 inhibitors: this class of medication promotes the excretion of glucose via urination to lower blood glucose levels. In addition to lowering blood sugar, this class has shown effectiveness in promoting weight loss, as well as a modest drop in blood pressure.
Doctors may recommend one or more types of medications to help control diabetes. While taking medications, it's important for people with diabetes to regularly test their blood glucose levels at home. There are many different blood glucose meters available on the market. Speak to a doctor or pharmacist about these meters to help you select the best meter for your needs.
As part of proper diabetes management, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of abnormal blood glucose levels and know how to properly monitor your blood glucose levels using a home glucose meter. You should remember to always keep glucose tablets or candies containing sugar with you at all times to manage low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia). Symptoms of low blood glucose include:
- cold, clammy skin
- rapid heart rate
To prevent complications, it's important to follow your diabetes management plan with a well-balanced diet and exercise. If you take medications for your diabetes, it is important to take them exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and prevent some of the long-term complications:
Foot care: Poor circulation and nerve damage caused by diabetes reduce sensitivity in the feet. It's important to check your feet regularly, looking for any blisters, cuts, or sores. Always keep your feet clean and dry and protect them by wearing socks and comfortable shoes.
Eye care: Eye problems (retinopathy) due to diabetes can lead to blindness. Therefore, have your eyes checked by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) at least once a year. By treating problems early, serious complications can be avoided.
Skin care: High blood glucose and poor circulation can lead to skin problems such as slow healing after an injury or frequent infections. Make sure to wash every day with a mild soap and warm water, protect your skin by using sunscreen, take good care of any cuts or scrapes with proper cleansing and bandaging, and see your doctor when cuts heal slowly or if an infection develops.
Education: People with diabetes should learn as much as possible about this condition and how to manage it. The more you know about your condition, the better prepared you are to manage it on a daily basis. Many hospitals offer diabetes education programs and many nurses and pharmacists have been certified to provide diabetes education. Contact a local hospital, doctor, or pharmacist to find out about programs and diabetes educators in your area.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Type-2-Diabetes