Metformin in Management

Information

These are what my metformin pills look like at 1000mg.

Metformin is one of the safer, effective and inexpensive drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It is an oral medication that helps to control blood glucose. It comes in multiple forms such as a pill, extended release tablet, and liquid. Usually you’re advised to take it with a meal.

Of course metformin doesn’t work on its own, you have to commit to a lifestyle change. A healthier diet and more exercise will help the user lose weight and lower blood sugar levels. These changes could possibly hold off diabetes in prediabetics for up to 15 years.

Metformin reduces appetite, affects how the body stores fat, and lowers resistance to insulin making your body use your own insulin more efficiently. It can also reduce the risk of dying from heart disease by 30-40%.

Side Effects

Usage of metformin can lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency that could lead to anemia, neuropathy, memory loss, and fatigue.

If you need a CT, MRI, or angiogram that requires the contrast dye you may need to temporarily stop taking your metformin. The contrast dye can cause minor, short term changes to kidney function.

Metformin should not be used if you have severe kidney disease, metabolic acidosis, or diabetic ketoacidosis. Also metformin shouldn’t be used with alcohol.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the body can’t create enough insulin to control the blood glucose levels which leads to gestational diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes require insulin injections to help control the blood glucose levels. In women with Type 2 diabetes, that gap grows exponentially with pregnancy. The body is in need of more insulin than can be provided with injections. Studies are being performed to see the long term effects of metformin during pregnancy to see if metformin can be used in tandem with injections during pregnancy to safely keep blood glucose levels in check and see if there are any affects on the baby.


When taking metformin, you’ll see greater results if you also change to have a healthier diet and more active lifestyle. You could potentially hold off full blown diabetes with this medication if you have prediabetes. Watch your health while taking this medication, look out for any side effects and let your doctor know about them as they happen.


Related Content

What is Blood Sugar and A1C?
How to Support Your Diabetic Loved Ones


References

Drugs.com
Diabetes Self-Management, May/June 2019, p. 30-31.


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How to Support Your Diabetic Loved Ones

There are many ways you can support your loved ones, it depends on the situations that surround your relationship. This is a general guide full of suggestions that can help you support the loved ones in your life who, just like me, are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I have no experience with supporting someone with Type 1 and I wish you the best of luck with your journey, hopefully these suggestions can help guide you in the right direction.


What is Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 is when the body cannot use insulin the way it should, also known as insulin resistance. The food we eat is broken down in to glucose which the body uses as fuel. The pancreas releases insulin to help get the glucose from your blood to the other cells in the body. When the body continues in-taking sugar, the pancreas creates excess insulin and eventually the body cannot keep up with production and that function becomes impaired and sugar begins building up in the bloodstream.

How do you manage it?

A photo of my sisters and I at my wedding having fun. We have fun when we're together and I love them.
My sisters and I at my wedding, laughing and having fun. We always have fun together, I don’t know what I would do without them.

Type 2 is managed using insulin, oral medications, and glucose monitors. Monitors are used at various times of the day to measure our blood sugar levels and can tell us if we are experiencing low-, high- or normal blood sugar levels. We use lancets to prick our finger to draw a drop of blood. We put a test strip in to our monitor and put it up to the drop of blood, hopefully it is enough of a sample, and the device reads it. For treatment, we take oral medications, mostly metformin. If we need an extra boost, we have a dose of insulin, which can be taken with every meal, at bedtime, or once a week.

What can I do to help in cases of emergency?

If we are having an emergency, it will most likely be the result of a low blood sugar episode. This could look like cold sweats, disorientation, fatigue, and light-headedness. This can be remedied with fast-acting glucose such as juice boxes, hard candy, glucose tablets, or any other sugary food or drink. On the extreme, we might have passed out and become unconscious. If this happens, call emergency services immediately. Hopefully we will have set up our Medical ID that can help emergency personnel treat us properly.

What can you eat?

Type 2 diabetics can eat whatever they choose to eat, as long as they mind the glycemic index (sugar content) or the amount of carbs in the foods they eat and the amount of insulin they need to inject after consuming food. Sugary foods and carbs are okay in MODERATION.


Beware of sugar-free, low-carb, etc labels. Just because it says sugar-free does not mean they are not filled with other alternatives. Most of the time when they say it is free of or low in something, companies have had to add something else to make it taste nearly the same to keep people coming back for more.


Most doctors will tell their patients that were recently diagnosed that they need to make a lifestyle change in order to control their blood sugar. My biggest advice for you is to support our new lifestyle. We may need to go out and exercise more, why not go on that walk around the neighborhood with us? We may need to cut out excess desserts from our diet, why not avoid eating sugary foods in front of us?

Please avoid micromanaging us, we know what we can and cannot eat. Please avoid chastising us, we know we shouldn’t eat that slice of pizza, just let us and make sure we don’t eat too much of it.

You do not need to tiptoe around us, just keep in mind that these changes could be drastically different from the lifestyle we lived before and it may be hard for us to change everything in our life in the beginning. Help make it easier for us, do it with us. Who knows, maybe that walk might help you keep diabetes away from yourself.


Related Content

What is Diabetes?
Some Signs You Might Have Diabetes


References

Beyond Type 2 Blog

What is Blood Sugar and A1C?

Blood sugar is the main sugar found in the blood. We get the glucose from the food we eat. Blood sugar is an important source of energy for the body’s organs, muscles, and nervous system. The insulin produced by the pancreas helps to regulate the glucose in the bloodstream so that it can be stored and processed by the body correctly.

Hemoglobin A1C, also known as just A1C, is the average levels of blood sugar over a 3 month period. Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells. Glucose attaches/binds with the hemoglobin and A1C tests are based on this attachment and show the heightened levels of glucose in the blood. This means high levels of glucose are attached to hemoglobin and in your bloodstream.

Normal people have an A1C of 5.7% or less.
Prediabetic people have an A1C of 5.7-6.4%.
Diabetic people have an A1C of 6.5% or more.

Check out this chart to get an idea of what your blood sugar should look like whether or not you have diabetes.
It’s also A good indicator to see whether or not you may have diabetes.

Glucose is fuel for your body when it is at normal levels. High sugar levels in the bloodstream erode the ability of cells in the pancreas to make insulin which can permanently damage the pancreas. This could also lead to the hardening of blood vessels.


Getting the A1C test will help your doctor determine if you have prediabetes or full blown diabetes and then counsel you on any lifestyle changes and monitor your condition. If you catch it in the prediabetes stage, you have the chance to reverse it and keep yourself away from diabetes.

I was told for two years that I was on the verge of getting diabetes. My doctor gave me multiple chances and I still didn’t listen. Now I have to work extra hard to lose the weight and fix my lifestyle. I don’t think I can fully reverse my diabetes now, but I can manage it to the best of my ability. It’s just a lot of work now.


I created a printable daily diabetic log where you can keep track of the medication you took, your blood sugar for the day, any workout you had, and the food you ate for the day. Click here to download the log and keep track of your day. I plan to come out with more printables to help keep you accountable with your diabetes, so stay tuned!


References

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease
WebMD
Live Science

Some Signs You Might Have Diabetes

DISCLAIMER: There is no true way to know if you have diabetes unless your doctor orders you a blood test that specifically looks at your blood sugar. However, this is a list of symptoms that could help alert you that something might be wrong.

Here is a list of symptoms that could indicate you have prediabetes or diabetes:

  • frequent urination – because there is excess sugar in your system, your kidneys work overtime to expel it but while the sugar is in your system, it soaks up water from all over your body causing frequent urination and leaving you thirsty
  • unusual thirst – ties in with the above symptom
  • blurred vision – high blood sugar causes the lens of the eye to swell
  • extreme fatigue – because the insulin in your body is not working properly, the sugar is not converting in to energy that your body needs to function
  • dry mouth – ties in with the unusual thirst
  • slow-healing sores and cuts – uncontrolled diabetes can affect the circulation of blood causing wounds to heal slower
  • itching of the skin – because the sugar in your blood is soaking up all the water in your body and dries out your skin
  • yeast infections – yeast feeds on glucose and likes warm, moist areas
  • numbness/tingling of the hands and feet – result of nerve damage
  • unplanned weight loss – your body is not getting the necessary energy from the food you are eating
  • nausea/vomiting – your body starts burning fat abnormally thus creating ketones, too much ketones can make you feel sick to your stomach

Sometimes you can have episodes of low or high blood sugar and it makes you feel out of it and you are not entirely sure what is going on. These lists could help you figure out which one you might be experiencing and then you can act accordingly.

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Image result for low blood sugar
  • Shaky
  • Nervous or anxious
  • Sweaty, chilly, or clammy
  • Cranky or impatient
  • Confused
  • Lightheaded or dizzy
  • Hungry
  • Sleepy
  • Weak
  • Tingly or numb in your lips, tongue, or cheeks

You might notice:

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Pale skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Nightmares or crying when you sleep
  • Coordination problems
  • Seizures

When experiencing a low blood sugar episode, take a couple glucose tablets, drink 8oz of juice or soda, suck on hard candy, or take a bite of a candy bar. Try to get your blood sugar up, but not too high.


Symptoms of Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)

  • Heavy thirst
  • Blurry vision
  • Peeing a lot
  • More hunger
  • Numb or tingling feet
  • Fatigue
  • Sugar in your urine
  • Weight loss
  • Vaginal and skin infections
  • Slow-healing cuts and sores
  • Blood glucose over 180 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl)

If you are already diabetic and you have a glucose meter with you, check your blood sugar to make sure whether you are high or low.

There are a lot of signs that could indicate you may have diabetes. I hope this list helps to lead you in the right direction. If you can catch it while it is still close to under control, there is a better chance that you will be able to get it under control and a chance you could even reverse it before it gets serious.

If you have any of these symptoms and you are suspicious that you have diabetes, call your doctor and set up an appointment. Do not let your doctor talk you down, this is your body and you want to make sure it is healthy. Better to be safe than sorry.


Related Content

What is Diabetes?


References

WebMD
Medical News Today