If you’ve been told by your doctor that you have type 2 diabetes, you probably were prescribed some form of medication. In fact, treatments for type 2 diabetes in most cases usually start with drugs right away. Some of the doctors that I have worked with will give a patient a chance to try to change their diet and exercise only to add drugs by the next office visit.
If you’re like most people, you probably went online and checked out the drugs that your doctor prescribed for you. And I’m sure you have read about the side effects. It seems like they’re endless these days for just about all of the drugs.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to help you with what are two of the most common treatments for type 2 diabetes – Metformin and insulin. Not only are they very common, but they’ve been around forever.
Treatments for Type 2 Diabetes Explained
The most common drug for type 2 diabetes is Metformin (Glucophage). The drug Metformin is in the Biguanide class of drugs. This drug is usually the first drug a doctor will prescribe. This drug helps to reduce the amount of sugar that your liver is producing. I’m sure you’re probably thinking, “More sugar.” Well yes, your liver produces sugar. And this is only problematic when you’re type 2 diabetic and things are all out of whack.
Normally your body produces sugar when you’re in the fasting state. But with type 2 diabetes, your body is tricked to think that you’re always in the fasting state even though you could have just eaten. This is because your cells can’t get the sugar in the form of glucose that they need for energy.
Insulin these days has really gotten a bad rap. Decades ago when insulin was first discovered, it was a lifesaver for type 1 diabetics who require it to survive. Nowadays, many type 2 diabetics need insulin early on. And this is due to high blood sugar levels. In most cases, insulin is prescribed to get sky-high blood sugar down.
The job of insulin is to mimic a normal pancreas. But because of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetics usually require a whole lot more insulin than a normal pancreas would need to produce. And insulin is usually needed to cover meals and in between meals. So it is very common for someone with type 2 diabetes to need multiple shots of insulin in a given day.
Today, there are more classes of drugs for type 2 diabetes than ever before. And more are popping up it seems all the time. Just about all of the drugs out there all aim to lower blood sugar. Whether it is by, getting your pancreas to secrete more insulin or reduce insulin resistance.
Either way, the goal is to help lower your blood sugar. Doctors will either combine 2 or 3 medications including insulin or use only one drug, but at the end of the day it all comes down to how well your blood sugar is controlled.
Metformin Side Effects
The only problem with drugs is that these treatments aren’t free of side effects. Metformin has side effects which include severe gastrointestinal side effects, and a rare condition known as lactic acidosis which is fatal in 50% of the people who get it.
Insulin Side Effects
Insulin therapy also has some drawbacks. These include weight gain, and insulin use can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar which can be severe).
Prior to using any of this information, please consult with your doctor.