Medications

Institutes & Services > Diabetes

Diabetes Treatment and Ongoing Care

Medications may be needed to help you reach your blood sugar goals. You and your doctor should discuss your blood sugar goals based on your overall health, lifestyle and personal wishes. All medications should be taken as ordered by the doctor. Call your doctor if you think your diabetes medicine is not working right or if it is causing you to feel bad.

You must test your blood sugar regularly. Your doctor or diabetes educator will help you decide how often to test your blood sugar. Your doctor will adjust your diabetes medications based on your blood sugar results. Always take your meter or a record of your blood sugar results with you to doctor appointments.

You may need to take more than one medicine. These can be pills, insulin or both. You may take more than one type of insulin. Bring all the medications you are taking to all doctor’s appointments.

It is important to have a plan for sick days (see sick day plan section). Your blood sugar may become harder to control if you get sick or have an infection. Your blood sugar may get too high or too low. You will need to check your blood sugar more often when you are sick. Your insulin dose may need to be changed while you are sick. If you take pills to control your blood sugar, continue to take your medications. It is important to continue to eat or drink carbohydrates while you are sick.

Type 1 Diabetes

People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin because their pancreas does not make any insulin. They need to inject insulin to live. There are different types of insulin. Your doctor will help you decide which type of insulin will be best for you and your lifestyle. Remember to be flexible, because your insulin type and dose may need to be changed at times.

Testing your blood sugar regularly is important for making decisions about your insulin dose. Your doctor or diabetes educator will tell you how often to check your blood sugar. Your insulin dose depends on your blood sugar results, activity level, and meals. Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you learn how to adjust your insulin dose.

Type 2 Diabetes

In type 2 diabetes the pancreas is not able to make enough insulin and/or the insulin does not work well to control blood sugar. People with type 2 diabetes need to check their blood sugar. Your doctor or diabetes educator will tell you how often to check your blood sugar.

Some people with type 2 diabetes are able to control their blood sugar by balancing what they eat with how active they are. But many people with Type 2 diabetes need to take pills and/or insulin. Diabetes pills work in different ways. They help your body to make more insulin, help your cells use insulin or help your kidneys remove sugar from your body.

You should take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you. You should know when to take your pills, how many to take and how often you are supposed to take them.

Pills alone may not be enough to lower your blood sugar to your goal. Some people with type 2 diabetes need to take insulin to lower their blood sugar even though they have worked hard at eating and exercising right. You may need to take a combination of pills and insulin or just insulin.

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