DIABETES IN BRIEF
Diabetes is a condition that is characterized by insufficient insulin production or inadequate cell response to the effects of insulin. This results in too much blood sugar (hyperglycemia). This phenomenon is responsible for complications related to diabetes, which affect the heart, kidneys, nerves, blood vessels and eyes, more or less long term.
WHY AND HOW TO TREAT DIABETES?
Diabetes is a chronic disease, that is, one that can not be cured. But you can help control it by keeping blood sugar levels in the normal range. The goal of treatment is to limit the impact of diabetes on your health.
To promote good blood sugar control, it is important to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. This implies in particular:
- bet on a balanced diet;
- aim for a healthy weight
- practice physical activity regularly
- limit the consumption of alcohol;
- monitor blood glucose.
It is possible that, in spite of all your goodwill and the adoption of these various measures, your blood sugar level remains too high. It is then that the use of an oral medication can be considered. But know that drugs do not replace the adoption of the healthy habits mentioned above. They are a complement to these treatment modalities.
ORAL ANTIDIABETIC DRUGS
Now let’s talk about the oral medication used in the treatment of diabetes. It is important here to differentiate between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas can not produce insulin. It will therefore be treated compulsorily with insulin injections. As for type 2 diabetes, it can be treated with healthy lifestyle habits to which will be added, if necessary, oral medications and sometimes also insulin.
Do not get me wrong: Oral medications that are used in the treatment of diabetes, called oral antidiabetic drugs, are not tablets containing insulin. Indeed, it is always in the form of injection because, taken orally, it would be quickly destroyed by the gastric juices of the stomach and lose its effectiveness.
Oral antidiabetic agents work at different levels in the body. Among other things, they can help increase insulin production or use insulin produced by the pancreas more effectively. Some injectable medications that are not insulin are also available.
CHOOSING A MEDICATION
The choice of a medicine must be individualized. Your doctor will decide with you which medicine is best for you, taking into account factors such as:
- your blood sugar level and symptoms
- your other health problems;
- your lifestyle habits;
- other medicines or natural products you are taking.
To ensure optimal follow-up with your doctor or your treatment team, it is essential to continue to make blood glucose and to write them in your blood glucose chart. This will make the necessary adjustments to your treatment.
YOUR PHARMACIST, THE DRUG RESOURCE
A good way to promote your adherence to medication is to know them. Your pharmacist, as a drug specialist, is a valuable resource. He can inform you about:
- the mode of action of your medicine;
- the best time to take it;
- potential adverse effects;
- the risks of interactions with other medications or natural health products you are taking or your diet.
Loyalty to treatment – taking your medications regularly as prescribed – is an essential ingredient for the success of your treatment. In case of frequent forgetfulness, the pharmacist can propose solutions adapted to your way of life.
With respect to side effects, be aware that any medication is likely to cause it. Fortunately, for the majority of people who feel it, these effects are fleeting and disappear as they have come. Do not hesitate to discuss it with your pharmacist so as not to compromise your treatment. Solutions can be put in place to avoid or relieve potential adverse effects.
Your pharmacist can be a valuable ally in managing your diabetes and preventing its consequences. It can be useful in many ways, including:
- Helping you choose a blood glucose meter that meets your needs
- teaching you how to use it to track your blood glucose levels;
- Providing you with tips for living better with diabetes on a daily basis
- giving you written information about your medications and your illness;
- directing you to other resources such as a diabetes education center;
- following the response to treatment (efficacy and side effects);
- by contacting your doctor to adjust the therapy if necessary;
- helping you quit smoking
People living with diabetes need to be well-rounded to better care for them. One of the most rewarding strategies is adhering closely to the guidelines of health professionals, including medication. Be a fox and thwart diabetes … you have the power!