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Diabetes Medicines Versus Lifestyle Changes

Amid growing concerns that diabetes medicines are being given to type 2 diabetes sufferers too quickly, let’s take a look at diabetes medicines and lifestyle changes as two ways to combat this disease.

Diabetes Medicines - Type 2 Diabetes 

Type 2 diabetes is a growing problem in the western world, with over four thousand people being diagnosed each day in the US alone. Medical experts agree that this trend is largely due to an increase in obesity levels, and that the first method of treating type 2 diabetes should be making changes to diet, losing weight, and increasing levels of exercise, rather than taking diabetes medicines.

However, it seems that at least one third of type 2 diabetes sufferers are being put on diabetes medicines within a month of being diagnosed, without giving lifestyle changes a chance to have any effect.

The first few months following diagnosis is seen as the best time to change habits such as overeating, eating the wrong foods, and not taking enough exercise. This is because a person that has recently been diagnosed as diabetic should be at their most motivated to change their lifestyle and combat their condition.

If patients are given diabetes medicines straight away however, this gives the impression that their disease is purely a medical and not a lifestyle related issue. Diabetes medicines can regulate blood sugar very quickly, but removes that incentive to lose weight, eat well and get moving.

Types of Diabetes Medicines

There are six major types of diabetes medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes.

These include:

  • sulfonylureas, meglitinides and d-phenylalanine derivatives  which stimulate your pancreas to increase insulin production
  • biguanides which decrease the amount of glucose made by your liver
  • alpha-glucosidase inhibitors which slow starch absorption to control blood sugar levels, and
  • thiazolidinediones which make you more sensitive to insulin.

Doctors often recommend a combination of two types of diabetes medicines to control type 2 diabetes. If diabetes medicines alone can’t keep your blood sugar levels under control, they may suggest insulin injections instead.

Diabetes Medicines - lifestyle changes to control type 2 diabetes

Making changes to your diet such as eating regular meals, reducing the amount of saturated fats you eat, limiting your intake of sugar, salt and alcohol, making sure you eat starchy carbohydrate with every meal, and eating more oily fish, beans and lentils, can help you control your blood sugar and lose excess weight.

Taking regular exercise will not only help you to lose weight and improve muscle tone, it will also make controlling your blood sugar easier, and improve the way your body uses glucose and insulin.

 

Make exercise a fun and sociable part of your life by joining a fitness class, taking dance lessons, or going for brisk walks with a friend.

Diabetes Medicines - summary

Diabetes medicines are vital for controlling severe type 2 diabetes, but if this condition is caught in its early stages, lifestyle changes can be far more effective and beneficial for the patient. If you have recently been diagnosed don’t push your doctor to prescribe diabetes medicines; see what you can achieve by changing your diet and taking a little exercise instead.

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