Not everyone with diabetes will need to take medication. For example, some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their condition through healthy eating and exercise alone. Other people, however, will need medicine to control their blood glucose. The three main types of medication for diabetes are insulin, oral medication, and other injectable medicines. Depending on your situation, you may need to take one or more of these drugs.
Diabetes Medication: An Overview
Type 1 is the form of diabetes that people most often get before they reach 30 years of age. All people with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin because their bodies do not make enough of it. Insulin helps turn food into energy for the body to work.
Type 2 is the kind of diabetes most people get as adults after the age of 40. But you can also get this type at a younger age.
Healthy eating, exercise, and losing weight may help you lower your blood glucose (also called blood sugar) when you find out you have type 2 diabetes. If these treatment options do not work, you may need one or more types of diabetes medication to lower your blood glucose. After a few more years, you may need to take insulin shots because your body is not making enough insulin.
You, your healthcare provider, and your diabetes educator should always work together to find the best treatment plan for you.
Purpose of Medication for Diabetes
The purpose of diabetes drugs may depend on the type of diabetes involved. Most people have either:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes.
Pregnant women may develop a form of the illness known as gestational diabetes.
(Click Gestational Diabetes for more information on this form of the disease.)
Type 1 Diabetes
Most people make insulin in their pancreas. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Insulin helps glucose from the foods you eat get to all parts of your body and be used for energy. Because your body no longer makes insulin, you need to take insulin injections.