The Beginning of Diabetes treatment:
Diabetes has been recognized as
a medical condition for at least 3,500 years, but what caused the
disease was a mystery until the early 1900s. Ancient physicians
diagnosed diabetes by the sweet taste in the urine that was due
to the presence of large amounts of sugar.
The best way to stay in control
your diabetes is to proactively manage it. Keep a complete list
of the medications you are taking, this includes over-the-counter,
prescription and alternative treatments. Share this list with your
healthcare providers and pharmacist. Seek their advice on the possible
side effects of your medications.
There are more than 20 types of
insulin sold in the United States that differ in how they are made,
how they work in the body, and price. Insulin can be modeled precisely
after human insulin (known as "human recombinant insulin")
or may come from animal sources (pigs or cows). There are different
types of insulin based on how soon the insulin starts working (onset),
when it works the hardest (peak time) and how long it lasts in your
body (duration). Some insulins also come mixed together, making
it easier to inject two kinds of insulin at the same time. Many
people who take insulin use a syringe, but other methods of delivery
include a pen and an insulin pump.
A common side effect from insulin is a hypoglycemic
attack resulting from low blood glucose levels. It is important
to know the warning signs for hypoglycemia and always be prepared
to treat hypoglycemia immediately. The most accurate way to determine
if you are experiencing hypoglycemia is to test your blood sugar.
Today there are five different classes of diabetes
medications that work in the body to improve blood glucose levels
for people with type 2 diabetes. Here is a look at where we are
today with the wide range of oral medications available and the
common side effects for each.
This class of drugs works by stimulating
the pancreas to release more insulin and is often one of the first
oral therapies given to people with type 2 diabetes. Common side
effects include weight gain, mild gastrointestinal disturbances,
alcohol intolerance, mild skin irritations and hypoglycemia or low
blood glucose levels.
This drug is often prescribed in
combination therapy with other diabetes medications or insulin,
and can be used as a first line of treatment. This class works by
keeping the liver from releasing too much glucose and helping the
body better respond to its own insulin. Metformin, on its own, can
minimize the risk of hypoglycemic attacks. Common side effects may
include nausea, diarrhea or mild gastrointestinal disturbances and
loss of appetite.
This class of drugs helps delay
the digestion of sugars and carbohydrates by releasing them slowly
into the system, avoiding high blood glucose levels after meals.
Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, mild gastrointestinal
disturbances, bloating and gas. It is important to know that over-the-counter
enzymes, to treat the gas caused by this drug may weaken the effects
of acarbose. Talk to your doctor about possible
This class helps sensitize the
muscle cells to insulin and reduce the amount of glucose released
by the liver, resulting in increased glucose uptake. Side effects
vary among the brands available, and can include adverse affects
to the liver. Symptoms of liver damage include nausea, vomiting,
abdominal pain, fatigue, loss of appetite and dark urine.
Before using this class of drugs
you should have a blood test for liver function and once prescribed,
additional tests every month for the first eight months of therapy.
If you experience any of these symptoms talk to your doctor immediately.