The Different Types of Medication Available for Diabetics
Not all diabetics need to take medication; however, many times it is necessary. Only your doctor can decide if you need medication, and what kind of medication you need. If you suffer from type 1 diabetes you will necessarily have to take insulin. That is because type 1 diabetes is defined as diabetes caused by some sort of disorder that prevents your body from producing enough insulin for your cells to metabolize glucose correctly. With type 2 diabetes, in many cases it can be treated with a controlled diet and lifestyle changes. However, it is often necessary to take medication designed to keep your blood glucose levels down. Type 2 diabetics may also need to eventually take insulin. It is important to remember that diabetes medication will never supplant the necessary lifestyle changes and weight loss that diabetic patients need to go through.
Diabetes pills are designed to keep your blood sugar down. This can be done by various mechanisms and each of these pills affects a different one of these mechanisms. Some people may have better results with one or the other, so it is quite common for doctors to try out a pill and then switch to another mechanism if that one doesn’t get results. There are six main groups of pills that can affect diabetes:
1.Alpha glucosidase inhibitors: These inhibit the effects of a certain enzyme that affects the absorption of complex carbohydrates. These keep glucose down by affecting how it is absorbed in the first place.
2.Sulfonylureas: These pills affect your pancreas directly. They keep blood glucose down by stimulating your pancreas so that it will increase its output of insulin.
3.Biguanides: These pills decrease blood glucose by affecting how much glucose the liver releases into your bloodstream.
4.Thiazolidinediones: This group of medicines acts upon the insulin receptors in your cells. They make your body more sensitive to insulin and speed up the rate at which glucose is used for energy by your cells.
5.D-phenylalanine derivatives: These can cause a fast spike of insulin production in your pancreas. They lower blood sugar by increasing insulin production.
6.Meglitinides: These pills also affect the islets in your pancreas, the groups of insulin-producing cells, and increase general insulin production in this organ.
Some of the more common diabetes oral medications are a combination of two or more of these groups of substances. At first it is common for doctors to change pills until they find the one that causes the least amount of secondary effects while working the best. As each person’s metabolism is different, there is a bit of trial and error involved in choosing the best one. That is why it is often recommended as a money saving feature to always go with the cheapest drugs on the market. These tend to be those that are proven and that give results in the widest variety of cases. More expensive medication tends to be for less common cases and is generally only prescribed in case the first line of attack against diabetes was not successful. If the cheaper and well-established drugs give good results, then it is often not necessary to have to use the more expensive and specialized alternatives.
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