September 27, 2016

Should We Use More Than Insulin?

If you use insulin for diabetes, you still might get swings in your blood glucose levels occasionally. But what if the levels won't go down, even with insulin? Don't worry. It's not the only way to get your condition under control. Healthy habits and diabetes medicine can also help.

Some of best ways to prevent high blood glucose levels are old-school:
#1. Exercise. When you do it regularly, it's like adding another medicine to your care. It makes the insulin you take work better, and it removes the sugar, or glucose, from your blood.

It also helps you lose weight, which can lower blood glucose. Try to build up to at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days, even if you start with just 5 minutes. Talk to your diabetes care team first about how to work out safely.

#2. Eat right. A healthy diet keeps your blood sugar within a safe range. It's the most important way to help you shed pounds if you're overweight. Work with a registered dietitian or a certified diabetes educator to learn about the best food to eat and how to build a meal plan that works for your lifestyle.

Weight loss medications are another option you can consider if you need to get thinner. Talk to your doctor about which ones might be a good choice for you.

#3. Relax. Stress blocks your body from releasing insulin, and that lets glucose pile up in your blood. If you're stressed for a long time, your glucose levels will keep building. Regular exercise and relaxation techniques -- like yoga, meditation, tai chi, and breathing exercises -- can help.

If the insulin you take isn't enough to lower high blood sugar, your doctor may change how much you take and how you take it. For instance, he may ask you to:
  • Increase your dose.
  • Take a fast-acting type before meals to help with swings in blood sugar after you eat.
  • Take a long-acting type once or twice a day to help give you smoother blood glucose control.
  • Use an insulin pump, which may make it easier to manage your blood glucose levels.

Other Medications:

You may take other drugs along with insulin to fight blood glucose highs. Some common ones are:

Exenatide and liraglutide (GLP-1 receptor agonists). If you have type 2 diabetes, these drugs lower glucose highs and make you feel full after a meal, which can help you eat less and lose weight. You take these medicines by injection. They can cause some side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, weakness, or dizziness.

DPP-4 Inhibitors. These include drugs like alogliptin (Nesina), linagliptin (Tradjenta), saxagliptin (Onglyza), and sitagliptin (Januvia). If you have type 2 diabetes, they can help you lower your blood glucose after meals. You take them as a pill. Side effects vary, depending on the type you take.

Other Reasons for High Blood Sugar:
There are other possible reasons your blood sugar may be high, such as insulin resistance, which may run in your family. That's when your body doesn't respond as well as it should to the insulin it makes. Or, you may be taking a drug for another health problem that keeps your body from using it well.

How you use insulin can also matter. If you give yourself shots in the same place repeatedly, for instance, that area may scar, which can affect how your body absorbs the hormone. It helps to rotate spots or use an insulin pump.

Some people also take less insulin than they should. It might be because they're afraid of low blood glucose, or they're nervous about needles. You might feel more comfortable by slowly increasing your insulin dose. Consider an insulin pump or pen if you don't like needles.

Whatever the cause of your blood glucose highs, work closely with your doctor to find a solution. And always talk with him before you make any changes in your insulin dose.

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