No ‘one size fits all’ diabetes treatment

No ‘one size fits all’ diabetes treatment

Type 2 diabetes is very complex, and the treatment plan for this type of diabetes is different for everyone. There is no “one size fits all” treatment for diabetes management. Remember this fact when blood sugars continue to jump around and your three-month average, the A1C, skyrockets.

This disease is a progressive condition, and it becomes more complicated to manage over time. Adjustments are needed as your body may make less insulin or become more resistant to the insulin it does produce. You may need to add a noninsulin or an insulin injectable if oral medication and lifestyle changes are no longer working. Asking the right questions can help.

Why are my blood sugars not as controlled as well as they used to be?

This could be because your type 2 diabetes is progressing. A complication of diabetes could be out of control. A different medication is interfering with your blood sugars. You may have experienced stress that raises blood sugar. Or it just may be time for a change.

What are injectable medications and what is available for type 2 diabetes?

Injectable medications include both insulin and noninsulin drugs. They are injected under the skin to bypass the digestive system. Injectable insulin helps control blood sugar levels in people whose bodies can’t produce enough insulin naturally. Several noninsulin injectable diabetes drugs are available. Your doctor will work with you to identify the right injectable medication.

Why would I need to start injectable diabetes medication?

If diet, exercise, stress control and oral medication can no longer help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels or hit your A1C target, injectables are a critical option.

Why does having to take shots make people feel like they have failed?

Needing to take injectable medication does not mean you’ve failed. Although many people with type 2 diabetes could follow a better planned diet, exercise more or be more disciplined about taking their prescribed oral medications, the condition is a progressive genetic disorder. As you age, your pancreas makes less insulin. Maintaining a healthy weight and staying active only slows down the process. It does not stop the disease. Do not give up on your healthy lifestyle or things could go from bad to worse.

If you are afraid of needles, can the injections be made easier?

The healthcare team can show you how to properly administer the medication. The needles used these days are slightly thicker than a strand of hair and are less than an eighth-inch long. The first time injecting yourself may be scary, but you will barely feel it.

Will I need to continue taking the pills?

A combination of drugs may be required to control your blood sugars. This is not unusual. Different diabetes drugs affect various parts of the body. Trying a combination may be just what you need at the time.

How will you know if a new treatment is working?

You will know if it is working if your A1C numbers shift down closer toward the goal number set by you and your doctor. Know what that number is. Usually, it is below seven; the goal for the elderly is eight.

Will I need to change my treatment plan again in the future?

It’s possible. Type 2 diabetes is progressive; it worsens over time. That is why you need to check your blood sugar and A1C to make sure your treatment is working.

Bobbie Randall is a registered, licensed dietitian. Email her at

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