General Overview of Blood Sugar Significance
Blood sugar levels represent a crucial indicator of human health conditions. Excess of sugar inside the bloodstream represents a widely-known factor for all types of diabetes.
Majority of foods can be divided into blood sugar components, which are utilized as energy to feed the heart, brain, as well as muscles. Blood sugar can originate from the consumed food or produced by the liver. It can be found: in the bloodstream as it gets distributed to all cells and organs; and inside the cells where it transforms into energy.
Before diabetes happens, regardless of the food amount or level of activity, the blood sugar levels remain within acceptable limits. However, when diabetes occurs, it causes blood sugar levels to increase beyond limits and only specific medications can reduce them. Besides that, there are other factors that can alter the blood sugar levels in your body.
Blood sugar levels (blood glucose) can be utilized to decide regarding your food intake and activity levels. Those decisions are very crucial, as they can assist in delaying or preventing problems associated with diabetes, like kidney disease, heart attack, blindness, amputation and others.
Factors Causing Blood Sugar Level Rise/Fall & How to Track It
This section is really important in developing a proper understanding about Blood Sugar Level and its impact on human health.
The following factors tend to cause Blood Sugar Levels to raise:
- Excess of food (e.g. meals or snacks) containing high percentage of carbohydrates;
- Lack of activity;
- Insufficient insulin levels or diabetes drugs for oral application;
- Side effects caused by other medicines (e.g. steroids, anti-psychotic meds etc.);
- Sicknesses that cause body to produce hormones to fight the sickness, and as result increase blood sugar levels;
- Stress that can trigger production of hormones that increase blood sugar levels;
- Long-term or short-term pain (e.g. pain caused by a sunburn), which triggers release of hormones by the body, which results in sugar levels increase;
- Menstrual periods, causing alterations of hormone levels;
- Prolonged or reoccurring dehydration.
The following factors tend to cause Blood Sugar Levels to reduce:
- Lack of food (e.g. meals or snacks) containing low percentage of carbohydrates;
- Alcohol consumption, specifically on an empty stomach;
- Excess of insulin or oral drugs to treat diabetes;
- Side effects caused by other medicines;
- Physical activity or exercising more than normal – physical activity causes your body to have higher insulin sensitivity and as result reduce blood sugar levels.
The following methods assist in tracking the Blood Sugar Levels:
- Utilization of a blood glucose meter to determine blood sugar levels at particular point of time;
- Completing A1C minimum 2 times per year to measure average blood sugar within past 2-3 months
Certain people suffering from Type-2 diabetes are able to attain target blood sugar levels with help of a proper diet and exercising alone. However, the majority still requires diabetes drugs or an insulin therapy. The decision regarding medications choice is dependent on various factors, like blood sugar levels as well as other health issues. Your healthcare specialist may decide to mix several drug types to assist in controlling blood sugar levels in various ways.
Available Medications to Control Blood Sugar Levels & Type-2 Diabetes
If the conditions of a particular individual do not allow complete recovery using diet and/or exercising, then treatment with medications will be suggested.
The following medications are prescribed for Type-2 Diabetes treatment:
- Metformin (Glumetza, Glucophage etc.). Normally, metformin is the first drug to be prescribed to cure Type-2 Diabetes. It functions via reduction of glucose production inside the liver and enhancing one’s body sensitivity to insulin in order to improve insulin use by the body in a more effective manner. Diarrhoea and nausea are among possible side effects of Metformin treatment. Those side effects may disappear once body is accommodated to the treatment medicine. If Metformin treatment and changes in lifestyles aren’t sufficient to control blood sugar levels, then other medications can be included (oral or injections).
- Sulfonylureas – medications assisting in secretion of more insulin by the body. The examples of sulfonylureas are glyburide (e.g. DiaBeta, Glynase), glipizide (e.g. Glucotrol) and glimepiride (e.g. Amaryl). Possible side effects by sulfonylureas include reduction of blood sugar and gain of weight.
- Meglitinides – medications have similar functions like sulfonylureas and provided stimulation of the pancreas to improve insulin secretion, but in a quicker manner as well as within a shorter duration. The examples of meglitinides are repaglinide (e.g. Prandin) and nateglinide (e.g. Starlix). The possible side effects also include low blood sugar levels and gain of weight.
- Thiazolidinediones – same as metformin, this type of drugs increases body tissues sensitivity to insulin. Due to risks associated with side effects, like weight gain, high risk of heart failure, anemia and other serious side effects, this group of drugs is not in the treatment of first-choice. The examples of thiazolidinediones are rosiglitazone (e.g. Avandia) and pioglitazone (e.g. Actos).
- DPP-4 inhibitors –medications aid in reduction of blood sugar levels, without resulting in weight gain. However, they may result in joint pain and higher risk of pancreatitis. Examples of DPP-4 inhibitors are sitagliptin (e.g. Januvia), saxagliptin (e.g. Onglyza) and linagliptin (e.g. Tradjenta).
- GLP-1 receptor agonists – medications come in injection form and function through reduction of digestion speed while reducing blood sugar levels. The application of GLP-1 receptor agonists results in weight loss, and side effects may include high risk of pancreatitis and nausea. The examples of GLP-1 receptor agonists are sitagliptin (e.g. Januvia), saxagliptin (e.g. Onglyza), linagliptin (e.g. Tradjenta), exenatide (e.g. Byetta, Bydureon), liraglutide (e.g. Victoza) and semaglutide (e.g. Ozempic).
- SGLT2 inhibitors – medications stop reabsorption of sugar into the blood by kidneys and promote sugar excretion in urine. Examples of SGLT2 inhibitors are canagliflozin (e.g. Invokana), dapagliflozin (e.g. Farxiga) and empagliflozin (e.g. Jardiance).
- Insulin – this medication therapy (oral or injection form) can be prescribed to certain patients suffering from Type-2 Diabetes. Previously, insulin therapy was prescribed as a last resort, however nowadays this treatment is prescribed more frequently due to benefits. Side effects may include reduction of blood sugar levels (i.e. hypoglycemia). Insulin comes in different forms and types and is best to be decided by your healthcare specialist.
In addition to medications curing diabetes, your healthcare provider may decide to prescribe a therapy of aspirin in low dosage as well as medications reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, in order to assist in prevention of diseases related to heart and blood vessels.