Diabetes Medications

Written by Beth Hrusch
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Diabetes medications will be prescribed based on the patient's individual condition. Factors involved are overall health, extent of the disease, and family history. Those with type-1 diabetes may need to take different kinds of drugs than those with type-2 diabetes. Type-1 diabetes requires a daily insulin shot, which is injected by the patient just under the skin. Type-2 diabetes patients can usually take pills that lower their blood glucose levels.

Types of Diabetes Medications

When the body stops using insulin properly, blood glucose starts to build up, causing sugar levels to rise. When the disease has progressed to a certain point, the pancreas will stop producing insulin on its own because the cells are not using it. Medications can both stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin and reduce blood sugar levels. A combination of these drugs will often be recommended in order to balance the body's metabolic processing of sugar.

There are five classes of oral diabetes medications. Sulfonylureas and meglitinides stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin. Biguanides shut off the excess production of glucose in the liver. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors slow the absorption of carbs into the blood. Thiazolidinediones increase the body's sensitivity to insulin. Additional support comes from diet, exercise, and the use of natural supplements such as fiber, chromium, and antioxidant vitamins.

A plan for diabetes management will usually involve one or more of these diabetes medications. Dosages and formulations may change as the body adjusts to them. When combined with a healthy lifestyle that includes weight loss and daily exercise, these drugs and supplements can help the diabetic take control of the disease.

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