Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

There is no available cure for Type 2 diabetes. However, it can be managed, by medication and a change in lifestyle.

Medication

Doctors often prescribe two types of medication for type 2 diabetes. There are medications that increase the sensitivity of your body’s cells to insulin and medications that lower the blood glucose level. The following is a list of the most commonly prescribed medication.

1. Metformin

This is the first and primary medication to be prescribed to a pre diabetic or a type 2 diabetic. This drug aims to increase the sensitivity of the body to insulin – it engages the cells and encourages them to accept glucose.

There are certain side effects of metformin. Pharmaceutical companies claim nausea and diarrhea are possible side effects of metformin. Some patients also claim loss of appetite, but experts relate this to nausea and diarrhea. The body needs time to adjust to the effects of metformin, and the side effects may eventually disappear.

Some studies claim that metformin plays a significant role in increasing the risk of kidney disease, among patients.

2. Thiazolidinedione

This drug works in a similar way to metformin, but has a faster and stronger effect. It also has more serious side effects than metformin.

Thiazolidinedione promotes weight gain. It may also trigger an increase in fat storage, in the body, which could lead to heart failure and other associated disease. It has also been claimed, that it lowers calcium levels in the body, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture.

This drug is only prescribed to type 2 diabetics, with blood sugar levels that exceed 20mmol/L.

3. Sulfonylureas

Sulfonylureas aim to control blood sugar levels, by triggering the pancreas to produce more insulin. The body requires insulin to counteract the glucose in the blood. A high amount of insulin can force the cells to recognize it and accept the glucose.

The side effects of sulfonylureas include: weight gain, an increase in appetite and sudden hypoglycemia. It is recommended they be taken fifteen to thirty minutes before meals, to lessen the side effects.

4. Meglitinides

These drugs are like sulfonylureas, but cause blood sugar levels to drop faster. Unlike sulfonylureas, the effect of meglitinides is temporary. A patient would take this if their blood sugar level suddenly rose above 20mmol/L.

Taking meglitinides, with a blood sugar level lower than 16mmol/L, may result in hypoglycemia.

Like sulfonylureas, meglitinides also increases appetite, which may lead to weight gain. However, doctors would normally prescribe meglitinides for short periods.

Other Methods of Managing Type 2 Diabetes

In addition to the drugs mentioned, there have been recent medical breakthroughs, that can help control type 2 diabetes:

Inhibitors

This medication lowers the blood sugar level by decreasing the absorption of glucose. Some inhibitors coat the digestive system, with a substance that blocks sugar or carbohydrates, and force them out as urine. Others trigger the kidneys to expel glucose, as they filter it.

Inhibitors are not good at lowering blood sugar levels, but are good at controlling the fluctuation of the levels. However, because they flush out sugar in the urine, the patient may become prone to urinary tract infections and yeast infections. Some women may suffer stickiness in their vaginal area.

Insulin therapy

A few decades ago, doctors refused to give insulin injections to type 2 diabetics, as they did not believe they would have an effect. However, it has been discovered that during the early stage of the disease, taking insulin injections can slow the progression and boost the sensitivity of the cells to insulin.

Things You Need To Do

Managing Type 2 diabetes is the same as Type 1 diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetic patients need to:

  • Get sufficient sleep 
  • Exercise
  • Eating a balanced diet

Things You Need To Avoid

1. Eating too high a carbohydrate and fat diet, in relation to your physical activity

People with type 1 diabetes should not eat foods that have high carbohydrates, but they may eat more fat. Their bodies do not produce insulin and can’t convert sugar into energy. Their body converts fats into energy instead. Whereas, type 2 diabetics, should eat a diet with a balanced carbohydrate to fat ratio.

One cause of type 2 diabetes is obesity. The patient should lower their body fat index, to make their cells more sensitive to insulin.

Their diet should be in proportion to the amount of physical activity they do. If the patient is active, then they can eat more carbohydrate and healthy fats. If they are passive, then they should eat less.

2. Eating or drinking food in large quantities

Type 2 diabetics usually have an increased appetite, during meal times. The sudden influx of sugar during meal times, can rapidly increase the blood sugar level. This may trigger hyperglycemia, which increases the risk of complications in other organs of the body.

Eating five times a day, in small portions, is preferable to eating three times a day, in large portions.

3. Taking comfort in eating sweet foods

Sweets and chocolate help us release happy hormones. However, people with type 2 diabetes, or those previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes, should avoid eating too many sweets and chocolate. There are better ways to release happy hormones, than eating sugar. For example, they could try working out a bit.

4. Becoming stressed

Stress is proven to increase the resistance of insulin in type 2 diabetes. It also encourages people to eat sweet foods. People with increased levels of stress, often forget to eat on time or ignore the complications of diabetes. This can lead to more serious complications. Doctors suggest diabetics get sufficient rest and activity to help them unwind.

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