“I don't take any medications, or I only take it when I think I need it.”
Some people are able to manage their blood glucose with diet and exercise. But most people with diabetes must take medication in order to keep their blood glucose at a healthy level.
It's very important to take diabetes medications as directed by your doctor. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious, even life-threatening complications—other diseases or conditions that are related to diabetes. Complications can lead to loss of vital functions (such as with your kidneys), blindness, amputation of lower limbs, and even death (especially from cardiovascular disease). By taking your medications as directed, you greatly reduce your risk of getting complications.
Insulin helps you manage your blood glucose levels by "unlocking" cells so that they can access your blood glucose for the energy they need. Without sufficient insulin—or when your cells have a condition called insulin resistance, where they cannot use the insulin your pancreas makes properly—blood glucose builds up and can eventually damage your arteries and cause other problems that can lead to complications.
Over time, many people need additional help in controlling blood glucose levels. This is when doctors typically prescribe insulin.
There are many types of non-insulin medications that can be prescribed for you. The various options may be overwhelming—memorizing all the names and technical terms isn't important, but understanding that there ARE options is what you need to know. Work with your doctor to determine which of these might be most helpful for you.
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