The Type 2 Diabetes Treatment Guide

type 2 diabetes treatmentWith type 2 diabetes treatment the goal is to get and keep your blood sugar in normal ranges. Treatment is also geared towards preventing future complications.

Good diabetes care usually focuses on the following:

  • Consciousness of the risk factors involved in type 2 diabetes
  • Advice and support from health care professionals
  • Access to appropriate support and information
  • Following through and being compliant with the plan of action
  • Working on reducing the complications associated with type 2 diabetes

Of the hundreds of doctors that I have worked with, their approach is always lifestyle modification through diet and exercise as well as prescribing medications when necessary.

The 3 most effective non-pharmacological (non-medication) ways to go about lifestyle modification are:

  1. Losing weight if obese or overweight
  2. Regular exercise
  3. Eating a healthy, balanced diet

If a healthy diet and regular exercises are not effective, physicians use medicine to help treat type 2 diabetes. There are many types of medications available. You might be required to take multiple medications as directed by your physician.

These medications include:


It is the first medication prescribed by doctors. It reduces the amount of glucose your liver produces into the bloodstream. It also causes cells of your body to respond more effectively to insulin.

Metformin has been associated with weight loss. For those with kidney damage Metformin is not a good option. This class of medication sometimes causes diarrhea and nausea. These side effects are less likely to appear if you start with a small dose and gradually increase.


This class of medication increases the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas. Examples of the drugs include glipizide, and glimepiride.

Sulphonylureas increase the risk of low blood sugars. They sometimes cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation and weight gain.


These drugs stimulate your pancreas to release more insulin after a meal. They are preferred for patients who have irregular meal times. This is because they are effective and their effects do not last very long.

The drugs cause side effects such as hypoglycemia and weight gain.

Thiazolidinediones (Glitazones)

These drugs makes the body cells more responsive to insulin. This allows more glucose to be absorbed into the cells of your body.  They work in combination with sulphonylureas and metformin or both.

They may cause ankle swelling (edema) and weight gain. Some side effects include bone fractuers and congestive heart failure.

These drugs have received bad press in recent years because of serious side effects and aren’t used as much as they used to be. Common drugs in this class are Actos (pioglitazone) and Avandia (rosiglitazone).

GLP-1 Receptor Agonist

GLP-1 receptor agonists act the same way as natural hormone GLP-1. These are injectable drugs, 1-2 times a day, or once weekly. They enhance insulin secretion when your blood sugar levels increase. They reduce sugar levels without risking hypoglycemia.

This medication reduces some weight in many and is preferred for obese patients.

Side effects may include flatulence and nausea.

Liraglutide (Victoza) is a GLP-1 drug injected once a day. The drug reduces weight and is preferred for obese patients.

Alpha-glucosidase Inhibitors

It helps prevent blood sugars from increasing after eating a meal. It reduces the rate by which the digestive system digests carbohydrates. One commonly used type of medications of this class would be acarbose.

DPP-4 Inhibitors

They are a few types and one of the most commonly used is sitagliptin (Januvia). DPP-4 is an enzyme, which breaks down incretin hormones produced in the gut. The drugs, reduce blood glucose level by decreasing the breakdown of incretin hormones.

Side effects may include flatulence and nausea.

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