When doctors say diabetes control, they mean the act of keeping your blood sugar level close to the desired range. Sugar levels that are too high or low causes short term sicknesses and long term health problems. Being able to do proper diabetes control is a combination of diabetic medication, a proper diet, and correct exercise. This article will focus on the proper medication a diabetic needs.
Insulin is needed by your body to turn sugar into energy. In a person with type 1 diabetes, his pancreas fails to produce this. Meanwhile, type 2 diabetics can produce it but their bodies do not use it properly; due to this their bodies end up producing less of it over time.
Because diabetic bodies have little to no insulin, medication must be used to provide this essential hormone. For it to get into the bloodstream, it must be injected under the skin and into the fat. There are no pill variations of insulin because it will not be broken down by the digestive system.
Types of Insulin and Devices
There are different kinds of insulin based on start-up and efficiency. Here are the classifications:
- Rapid-acting insulin:
- Starts working 15 minutes after injection
- Most efficient at the 1 hour mark
- Works for 3-5 hours
- Regular or short-acting insulin:
- Starts working 30 minutes after injection
- Most efficient at the 2-3 hour mark
- Works for 3-5 hours
- Intermediate-acting insulin:
- Starts working 2-4 hours after injection
- Most efficient at the 12 hour mark
- Works for 12-18 hours
- Long-acting insulin:
- Reaches the bloodstream several hours after injection
- Evenly lowers glucose levels over a 24-hour period.
A doctor or endocrinologist is capable of determining the type and dosage a patient needs.
There are three devices used to inject insulin:
- Syringe: A standard needle with a hollow tube and a plunger.
- Insulin Pen: A pen-like device that contains insulin with a needle on the tip.
- Insulin Pump: A machine the pumps insulin into the system via tube and needle.
Type 1 diabetics must use insulin only to help them with their disease. For type 2 diabetics, they are more flexible and may use pills as well to maintain their blood glucose levels as well. However, there are many complication to the usage of pills such as:
- The pills may not work well or at all for diabetics who have had the disease for at least 10 years or who use 20 units of insulin daily.
- In some cases, the pills stop working after months or years with no known cause. Oral therapy along with the pills may help if this happens.
- The use of insulin injections is still needed when a diabetic needs surgery or has a severe infection.
- It is not safe for pregnant women.
- The pills may not work if the patient is under stress.
Diabetes is the cause of many long term illnesses and medicine to maintain these may be prescribed to some diabetics. These medications include:
- High Blood Pressure Medicine:
- This symptom-less illness can secretly damage blood vessels, the heart, and organs which could lead to death. One or more types or medication may be prescribed to maintain a good blood pressure (BP) level. Over time, the dosage may be reduced if a good BP is achieved for a year or more.
- High Cholesterol Medicine:
- Having a high level of cholesterol has been known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). While a good diet, weight, and exercise routine helps keep cholesterol at a good level, proper medication greatly helps as well.
- Aspirin Therapy:
- If a patient is on the verge of CVD, then aspirins may be prescribed to him to “thin” out his blood. This will prevent blood clots which are prone in veins with heavy build-ups of plaque.
The importance of medication for diabetics cannot be stressed enough. Insufficient knowledge of which medicine to use can lead to the death of a diabetic.