Glucose Lowering Drugs are used to reduce Excess sugar in the blood, which can cause a myriad of complications and problems, including nerve and kidney damage. Type 2 Diabetes is a disease in which the body loses its ability to produce and use insulin or the cells become resistant to the insulin produced. Insulin is the hormone, produced by the pancreas, that is used to move sugar, or glucose, into the cell to be used as fuel. There are two major types of Diabetes. In Type 1 Diabetes, previously known as Juvenile Diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas do not produce insulin. Today we will be talking specifically about Type 2 and the prescriptions used to treat it. This encompasses a startling 95 percent of people with Diabetes. Over time, high blood sugar can cause:
- Eye problems like glaucoma and blindness (Type 2 Diabetes is actually the leading cause of blindness in the U.S.)
- Foot complications
- Skin problems
- Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD – pain and tingling in legs)
- High Blood Pressure
- Gum Disease/Periodontal Disease
- Nerve damage
- Kidney damage
Oral hypoglycemics are a general category of pharmaceuticals that are taken by mouth to lower blood glucose and control high blood sugar in Type 2 Diabetes. They help glucose enter the cell for energy production. Commonly used agents are:
Most have side effects like weight gain, gas, nausea, a buildup of resistance over time, etc. I want to talk about the potential and serious side effect of nutrient depletion. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that diabetics on a particular hypoglycemic had Vitamin B12 levels that were less than half of those not on the medication. Discuss your particular medication with your physician. Generally, people who take a medication to lower their blood glucose need to be concerned with lower levels three vital nutrients:
- Vitamin B12 has a key role in red blood cell formation, and the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. It is commonly found in meat, eggs, dairy products, and fish. A high homocysteine level on your blood test may suggest a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B6 and Folate also influence homocysteine levels.
- Folic Acid is a B Vitamin that helps the body make new, healthy cells. During pregnancy, it is essential for development of the child’s neural tube which develops during the first 28 days of pregnancy. The terms “folate” and “folic acid” are often used interchangeably. “Folate” is actually the naturally-occurring form of the vitamin found in fresh foods like spinach or garbanzo beans. “Folic Acid” is the synthetic form of the vitamin that is used in most fortified foods.
- CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant made by the body and is needed for basic cell function and to produce cellular energy. It’s production declines with age. Bummer!
When I was in Dental School in the 1980’s, Type 2 Diabetes was also called “Adult Onset Diabetes” because it mainly affected older people. Now, however, I am observing many young adults being diagnosed – even those in their 20s. This deeply troubles me. Some risk factors for diabetes:
- Poor food choices
- Being overweight
- Low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- Gestational diabetes and delivery of a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- Family history
The good news is that Type 2 Diabetes is preventable. According to Harvard School of Public Health, up to 90 percent can be nipped in the bud. Everything affects everything including Glucose Lowering Drugs! My objective is to empower you to LIVE YOUNGER by making lifestyle modifications to decrease your need for pharmaceutical medications. START SOMEWHERE with just one small change. You can do it. I will help you!