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Top Common Medications for Diabetes

Updated on: Apr 23, 2024
4 min Read
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We know that diabetes is a chronic disorder characterized by increased blood sugar levels. But did you know that different types of diabetes can occur for various reasons?

Managing diabetes effectively requires lifestyle changes and the right treatment and medication, as prescribed by your doctor. This depends on the type of diabetes, medical history, and investigations.

The three most common types of diabetes are:

Diabetes Type What It Is Main Causes
Type 1 The body doesn’t make insulin. Our immune system mistakenly destroys cells that make insulin
Type 2 The body can’t use insulin well or doesn’t make enough. – Genetics

– Unhealthy lifestyle 

Gestational Diabetes that starts during pregnancy. – Hormonal changes in pregnancy.

Unfortunately, myths and misinformation lead many to misuse or avoid diabetes medications. Understanding that medication should only be prescribed by a healthcare professional who considers your specific health needs is critical.

Self-prescribing can be harmful.

As we talk about medications for managing diabetes in this blog, remember that everyone is different. Your health condition and needs might not be the same as others.

The information here is just to give you a general idea and should not be used to change your treatment plan on your own.

Always talk to your doctor or diabetologist before making any changes to your medications.

We urge our readers to think carefully and get the right medical advice before adjusting their diabetes treatment.

Now, let’s take a brief look at some of the medications that are most commonly used to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Understanding Diabetes Medications

When managing diabetes, it’s essential to understand how different medications work. This overview simplifies how each type of diabetes medication assists in controlling blood sugar levels.

Oral Hypoglycemic Agents (OHAs)

For people with type 2 diabetes, OHAs are commonly prescribed pills that lower blood sugar. They work in several ways:

  • Reducing sugar release from the liver.
  • Slowing sugar absorption from food.
  • Improving the body’s response to insulin.
  • Increasing insulin release from the pancreas.
  • Blocking sugar reabsorption in the kidneys.
  • Preventing sugar absorption in the gut.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the common tablets that come under OHAs.

Common OHA Tablets

  1. Oral tablets that reduce sugar production in the liver, increase sugar uptake in muscles and decrease appetite, e.g., Metformin.
  2. Oral tablets that stimulate insulin release from the pancreas, e.g., Glyburide and Glipizide.
  3. Oral tablets that improve insulin sensitivity, e.g., Pioglitazone.
  4. Some oral tablets block carbohydrate absorption in the intestines, e.g., Acarbose and Miglitol.
  5. Some oral tablets, such as empagliflozin, canagliflozin, and dapagliflozin, help the kidneys remove sugar through urine.
  6. Oral tablets that enhance insulin secretion and decrease glucagon release based on blood sugar levels, e.g., Sitagliptin, Vildagliptin, and Linnagliptin.
  7. Oral tablets that help lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin production in response to meals, slowing digestion, and reducing appetite, e.g., Exenatide, Liraglutide, Dulaglutide, and Semaglutide.
  8. Insulin: It is used for all types of diabetes. It regulates blood sugar by helping the body use and store sugar from food. It’s available in several forms:
  • Fast-acting: Controls blood sugar during meals.
  • Intermediate-acting: Covers blood sugar control for longer periods.
  • Long-acting: Provides steady blood sugar control throughout the day.

Apart from medications, it is more important to follow a proper lifestyle to manage your diabetes well. Let’s take a look at the factors that play an important role in managing diabetes.

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How to Manage Diabetes with Lifestyle Modifications

1. Diet, Exercise, and Weight Management

  • Eating a balanced diet rich in whole foods and low in processed sugars, along with regular exercise, is key to managing diabetes effectively. Including high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans can slow carb absorption, improve insulin efficiency, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce insulin resistance.
  • Exercising regularly is key to managing diabetes. Activities like walking, swimming, or strength training exercises improve insulin’s effectiveness, lowering blood sugar.
  • If you’re overweight, losing 5 to 10% of your body weight can significantly enhance your health, make controlling blood sugar easier, and potentially reduce the need for diabetes medication.

Combining exercise, along with a healthy weight and a healthy diet, can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

2. Sleep Quality

  • Quality sleep (undisturbed deep sleep) is essential for health and blood sugar control. Poor sleep can decrease insulin effectiveness, raising your blood sugar levels.
  • Make sure you get 7 to 8 hours of GOOD QUALITY sleep each night to help manage your diabetes alongside your medications.

3. Stress Management

  • Stress can cause your blood sugar to rise due to stress hormones like cortisol.
  • Using techniques to lower stress, like meditation, deep breathing, yoga & mindfulness, and pursuing a hobby or a passion can help keep your blood sugar more stable.

How We At Fitterfly Can Help You?

At Fitterfly, we prioritize lifestyle modifications as the first line of therapy for managing blood sugar levels, aiming to minimize dependence on medication.

We can help you with our personalized care plans, which blend diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes that are based on your unique needs, enhancing any ongoing medical treatments.

To start with us and know more about Fitterfly’s Diabetes Prime Program, give us a missed call at 08069450746.

NOTE: Always remember to consult your doctor before adjusting/changing your treatment or medication.

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This blog provides general information for educational and informational purposes only and shouldn't be seen as professional advice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take multiple medications for type 2 diabetes at the same time?

Yes, many people with type 2 diabetes need to take multiple medications to manage their blood sugar levels effectively. Your doctor will guide you on which medications to take and how to safely combine them.

How long does it take for diabetes medications to start working?

The time it takes for diabetes medications to start working can vary. Some medications work quickly, within a day or two, while others may take longer, up to a few weeks, to show their full effect.

Are there any lifestyle changes I need to make while taking diabetes medications?

Yes, lifestyle changes are crucial when taking diabetes medications. Eating a healthy diet, staying active, and monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly can enhance the effectiveness of your medication.

Will I need to adjust my diabetes medications over time?

As your condition improves and you follow a proper lifestyle over a period of time, your doctor may adjust your prescriptions to ensure your blood sugar levels stay under control. Before making any changes to your medication, please consult with your doctor first.

What should I do if I miss a dose of my diabetes medication?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it's almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. Do not take two doses at one time to make up for the missed one. Always consult your doctor for advice specific to your situation.

Can I stop taking my diabetes medication if my blood sugar levels improve?

You should never stop taking your diabetes medication without consulting your doctor. Even if your blood sugar levels improve, it might be because the medication is effective. Stopping it could cause your levels to rise again.

Are there any natural alternatives to prescription diabetes medications?

While some natural supplements and lifestyle changes can help manage diabetes, they should not replace prescription medications without a doctor's approval. Always discuss any alternative treatments with your healthcare provider.

How do oral medications for type 2 diabetes differ from injectable medications?

Oral medications are taken by mouth and usually work by helping your body use insulin better or reduced sugar production. Injectable medications, including insulin, are directly injected into your body and respond quicker than oral medications.

Can type 2 diabetes medications cause weight gain?

Some diabetes medications can lead to weight gain, while others may promote weight loss or have a neutral effect. Discuss the potential side effects of your medications with your doctor.

What factors determine which type 2 diabetes medication is right for me?

Factors include your current blood sugar levels, any other health conditions you have, potential side effects, cost, and your lifestyle. Your doctor will consider all these factors when prescribing medication.

Can I drink alcohol while taking medications for type 2 diabetes?

Alcohol can affect blood sugar levels and interact with diabetes medications. It's important to talk with your doctor about how much alcohol, if any, is safe for you to consume.

- By Fitterfly Health-Team

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