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Diabetes Medication 101

There are a few different types of medications to treat diabetes. Some of these medicines are taken by mouth, and others are injections.

Type 1 diabetes
For type 1 diabetes, insulin is the main treatment because it replaces the hormone your body isn’t able to produce naturally.

Here are the 4 types of insulin that are most commonly used:

  • Rapid-acting insulin starts to work within 15 minutes and its effects last for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Short-acting insulin starts to work within 30 minutes and lasts 6 to 8 hours.
  • Intermediate-acting insulin starts to work within 1 to 2 hours and lasts 12 to 18 hours.
  • Long-acting insulin starts to work a few hours after injection and lasts 24 hours or longer.

Type 2 diabetes
Diet and exercise can help some people manage type 2 diabetes. If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your blood sugar, your doctor will likely prescribe medication. 

The following are some of the medications that doctors usually prescribe to help lower blood sugar: 

  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors: This type of medication slows your body’s breakdown of sugars and starchy foods. 
  • Biguanides: These medicines help reduce the amount of glucose your liver makes.
  • DPP-4 inhibitors: Helps improve your blood sugar without it dropping too low.
  • Glucagon-like peptides: This medicine helps change the way your body produces insulin. 
  • Meglitinides: Helps stimulate your pancreas to release more insulin.
  • SGLT2 inhibitors: This medicine helps to release more glucose into the urine. 
  • Sulfonylureas: Helps stimulate your pancreas to also release more insulin. 
  • Thiazolidinediones: This medicine helps insulin work more efficiently. 

Can type 2 diabetes be prevented?

Yes! Studies show that people who are at risk can prevent type 2 diabetes by:

  • Weight Loss
  • Living an active lifestyle
  • Improve your diet
  • Medications (including metformin)
  • Quitting smoking may also lower your risk of diabetes

How to Manage Diabetes Naturally

A healthy diet and exercise can be a helpful way to manage diabetes. In some cases, changing your diet may be enough to manage your diabetes.

  • Get at least 150 minutes per week of exercise, such as walking or cycling.
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats along with refined carbohydrates. Stick to lean proteins like fish or chicken and healthy carbohydrates like whole grains.
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Eat smaller portions throughout the day.

Copilot IQ’s doctors and nurses can help make recommendations for diet changes to help you manage your diabetes.

Understanding Diabetes Readings

Your blood glucose levels will vary depending on the time you take the reading. Your healthcare provider will recommend the optimal time to measure your blood glucose levels. 

For example, you may be asked to check your blood sugar levels while fasting or before and after meals (to see how your meal had an impact on your blood sugar), before all meals, or at bedtime. 

  • A blood sugar level less than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) is normal. 
  • A reading of more than 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) after two hours indicates diabetes. 
  • A reading between 140 and 199 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L and 11.0 mmol/L) indicates prediabetes.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) have recommendations for blood glucose targets for most people with type 2 diabetes.

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