Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sugar Control Matters

Checking your blood sugar level is a key part of your diabetes plan. It's a two-part process:

1. Blood sugar testing shows your blood sugar level at the exact time of the test. Ask your doctor when and how often you need to self-test.
2. The A1C test is done at your doctor's office. It shows your average blood sugar over the past two to three months.

Are You in Control

Testing your blood sugar tells you how well your treatment plan is working. By keeping your blood sugar close to normal levels, you can reduce the risk of eye disease, kidney and heart disease, and other diabetes complications.

Be sure to write down when your blood sugar is higher or lower than your healthy range; you can use the Blood Sugar Log (PDF Format). Share the record with your doctor.

Make sure that you know:

* Your target blood sugar levels
* When and how to test your blood sugar
* Your A1C goal and how often you need an A1C test
* How to handle very high and low blood sugar levels

Diabetes Medicines

Your doctor may prescribe one or more medicines to help control your blood sugar, along with your plan to eat healthy and stay active.

Several kinds of medicines may help control blood sugar. Most people take pills while others take insulin. Some newer medicines for type 2 diabetes are injected. Your doctor will tell you which kind of medicine you need and why.

Over time, as your body changes, your doctor may make some changes in your treatment to help control your blood sugar. He or she may:

* Change your dose
* Add a new medicine or insulin
* Switch pills

Types of pills

Several types of pills are prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes:

Are You in Control

* Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors prevent the breakdown of starches, such as bread, potatoes, and pasta in the intestine. They also slow the breakdown of some sugars. Their action slows the rise in blood glucose levels after a meal.
* Biguanides reduce the amount of sugar produced by the liver and make muscle tissue more sensitive to insulin so that sugar can be absorbed.
* DPP-4 inhibitors help improve A1C without causing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). They work by preventing the breakdown of a naturally occurring compound in the body.
* Sulfonylureas and meglitinides stimulate the beta cells in the pancreas to release more insulin.
* Thiazolidinediones help insulin work better in the muscle and fat and also reduce the liver’s sugar production. They target insulin resistance.

Diabetes pills don't work for everyone. Although you may find that your blood glucose levels go down when you start taking pills, your blood sugar levels may not reach the normal range.

What are the chances that diabetes pills will work for you? Your chances are good if you developed diabetes recently or have needed little or no insulin to keep your blood glucose levels near normal.

Remember, medicine is just part of your treatment. You also need to eat healthy, get regular physical activity, and check your blood sugar.