Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    It's possible that you won't need your diabetes drugs if your blood sugar levels become normal. In some people with type 2 diabetes, losing weight, eating a low-fat/high-fiber diet, reducing stress and using other lifestyle strategies can help get their blood sugar levels into a normal range. As a result, they are able to reduce or stop their medications completely. Of course, you should never stop taking your medications without consulting your doctor first. But improving your health habits can not only make you feel better in the short term, it may turn around your diabetes and let you live a medication-free life. Talk to your doctor about the kinds of lifestyle changes that would be best for you.
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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    It’s important to take your diabetes medicine to keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. When blood sugar soars out of control or remains high, it can damage blood vessels and nerves throughout your body. High blood sugar increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, digestive problems, dental conditions and amputation of a limb.
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    Diabetes is a serious condition, and you should always follow your doctor’s specific instructions for taking any medication, including glitazone. But there are some specific rules that will apply to you if you are taking glitazone:
    • If you don’t notice a change in your blood glucose right away, don’t stop taking your glitazone medication. It takes about eight weeks for this type of medication to reach its full effect.
    • If your diabetes symptoms go away or you decide you feel fine, don’t stop taking your glitazone medication. You need it to stay well.
    • If you don’t follow your meal plan -- for example, you overeat, skip a meal or make a poor food choice, don’t adjust your dose.
    • If you’re sick, most of the time, you should keep taking your glitazone medication as prescribed. Just check your blood glucose more often -- about every four hours. Call your doctor for specific instructions if your blood glucose goes out of your target range.
    • If you’re taking birth control pills, talk to your doctor. Glitazones can keep the pills from working properly. Your doctor can discuss options with you.
    • If you plan to become pregnant, talk to your doctor. Glitazones usually aren’t used during pregnancy. Your doctor will work with you to find other ways to help you control your blood glucose during pregnancy.
    It is vital that you should never stop taking any medication, least of all glitazone, unless your doctor specifically tells you to stop. However, there are times when you should call your doctor:
    • You’re ill and having trouble controlling your blood glucose.
    • You have side effects that don’t go away.
    • You gain three or more pounds in two weeks. (Although weight gain is a common side effect, this kind of rapid, significant weight gain isn’t normal.)
    • If you plan to become pregnant. Glitazones usually aren’t used during pregnancy.
    Call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of liver damage, such as vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine or yellowish skin.
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    Saxenda (liraglutide) is a drug that is FDA approved to treat obesity in adults who are obese or overweight and who have at least one obesity-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes or another condition. The drug is given by injection.

    You are considered obese if your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or greater. You are considered overweight if your BMI is 27 or greater.

    Saxenda is a type of drug called a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. GLP-1 is a naturally occurring hormone made in your gut. Your body releases it when food from a meal reaches your small intestine. The hormone works to help your pancreas produce insulin, make you feel full quickly, decrease your appetite and slow the movement of food through your stomach. Saxenda and similar drugs mimic the action of GLP-1 and will have many of the same effects. Victoza is another GLP-1 receptor agonist that contains the same ingredient as Saxenda. It’s also used to treat type 2 diabetes.
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    A DPP-4 inhibitor is a type of medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. Its side effects include a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, headache and diarrhea. Call your doctor if any of these side effects are severe or don’t go away.

    Also call your doctor right away if you have any of these serious symptoms:
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Ongoing pain that begins in the upper left or middle of the stomach but may spread to the back (this pain could be pancreatitis, a serious complication of some DPP-4 inhibitors)
    • Rash or hives
    • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
    Even though DPP-4 inhibitors don’t actually cause hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar), you may take other diabetes medications that do increase the risk of hypoglycemia. For this reason, it’s good for you and your family to know the symptoms of hypoglycemia. These include feeling shaky, sweaty, hungry, and irritable. If you have these symptoms, test your blood glucose and take some quick-acting sugar if it is low. Good sources are three or four glucose tablets, a half-cup of fruit juice or regular soda, or a tablespoon of honey or sugar.
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    A GLP-1 agonist is a type of medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is taken by injection (shot) using a prefilled dosing pen. Like almost every medication, it comes with its own set of side effects. Common side effects from GLP-1 agonists include nausea, diarrhea, gas, a “jittery” feeling, dizziness, headache, weakness and upset stomach. Weight loss is also common. Call your doctor if any of these side effects are severe, as some side effects are serious.

    Call your doctor immediately if you have any of these potentially serious symptoms:
    • Ongoing pain that begins in the upper left or middle of the stomach but may spread to the back -- or any ongoing pain or ache in the mid or lower back
    • Hives, rash or itching
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
    • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
    • Lump or swelling in the neck
    • Hoarseness
    • Changes in the color or amount of urine
    • Swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
    GLP-1 agonists don’t cause hypoglycemia (or low blood glucose) by themselves. But combined with other medications, vigorous exercise or not eating enough, they can make your blood glucose drop too low. Since low blood glucose can be dangerous, make sure that you and your family know the symptoms. These include feeling shaky, sweaty, hungry and irritable. If you have these symptoms, check your blood glucose and take some quick-acting sugar if your glucose is low. Good sources are three or four glucose tablets, a half-cup of fruit juice or regular soda, or a tablespoon of honey or sugar.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Dr. Robin Miller - diabetes drugs and the brain

    Inexpensive diabetes drugs may do more than regulate insulin. In this video, Dr. Robin Miller explains how both metformin and glucophage can boost brain health, and who can benefit.

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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    The best time to take your diabetic medication will vary depending on the medicine you're taking. For example, among pills for diabetes, some are meant to be taken before a meal, some at the first bite of a meal and some with food. Some are taken twice a day while others might be taken three times daily. Insulin may be taken as injections a few times a day or given by pump as a steady dose throughout the day. You and your doctor need to choose not only the best medications for controlling your diabetes, but also the best times to take those medications.
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    A DPP-4 inhibitor is a type of medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. By helping your body achieve a better glucose-insulin balance, they work to lower blood glucose only when it’s too high. Even though DPP-4 inhibitors don’t actually cause hypoglycemia (or low blood glucose), you may take other diabetes medications that do increase the risk of hypoglycemia. For this reason, it’s good for you and your family to know the symptoms of hypoglycemia. These include feeling shaky, sweaty, hungry, and irritable. If you have these symptoms, test your blood glucose and take some quick-acting sugar if it is low. Good sources are three or four glucose tablets, a half-cup of fruit juice or regular soda, or a tablespoon of honey or sugar.
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    A answered
    In 2006, the FDA approved the first DPP-IV inhibitor, an oral medication that increases the body’s ability to produce insulin.

    Both DPP-IV inhibitors and GLP-1 agonists help glucose remain stable for longer periods and have few side effects. Unlike the sulfonylureas, used decades earlier, these medications do not increase the risk of hypoglycemia.
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