Know Your Anti-Di­a­betic Drugs

Reader's Digest (India) - - Book Bonus - BY MAX PEM­BER­TON

What do they do? Help the body reg­u­late its blood-sugar level. How do they work? They ei­ther re­place the body’s in­sulin, or make the cells of the body more sen­si­tive to the in­sulin the body’s al­ready pro­duc­ing (this group of drugs is called “oral hypo-glycemics”). In­sulin tells the cells to take sugar from the blood to keep the blood-sugar level sta­ble. With di­a­betes, the pan­creas is ei­ther not pro­duc­ing enough in­sulin (Type 1 di­a­betes) or the body’s cells no longer re­spond prop­erly to the in­sulin be­ing made (Type 2). How do you take them? It’s very im­por­tant to take di­a­betic med­i­ca­tions as pre­scribed. They’re usu­ally taken just be­fore a meal be­cause just af­ter a meal, blood sugar is at its high­est and this is when in­sulin would nor­mally be re­leased by the pan­creas. In­sulin is taken via an in­jec­tion (it’s a pro­tein, so if it were in a tablet, the stom­ach would di­gest it and it wouldn’t work). Oral hy­po­glycemics come in tablet form. Di­a­bet­ics of­ten also check their blood-sugar level by prick­ing their fin­ger and test­ing the blood with a mon­i­tor­ing de­vice. Side ef­fects? Taken at the cor­rect dose, in­sulin has very few side ef­fects. The site of in­jec­tions can be­come hard, so peo­ple are ad­vised to change reg­u­larly where they in­ject. Oral hy­po­glycemics can make peo­ple feel sick, dizzy or con­sti­pated. This usu­ally im­proves with time. Com­mon types In­sulin, met­formin, gli­clazide.

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