Manage Your Diabetes

Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Managing blood glucose (blood sugar) as well as blood pressure and cholesterol is the best defense against the serious complications of diabetes.

Diabetes pills and insulin are the two kinds of medicines used to lower blood glucose.

People with type 1 diabetes control their blood sugar with insulin -- either delivered by injection or a pump. Many people with type 2 diabetes can control blood glucose levels with diet and exercise alone. Others require oral medications or insulin, and some may need both, as well as lifestyle modification.

Taking Diabetes Pills

If your body is still making some insulin, but not enough to keep your blood glucose levels under control, you may need diabetes pills. Some medications are taken once a day; others must be taken more often. Ask your health care team when you should take your pills. Remember to take your medicines every day, even when you feel well.

Be sure to tell your doctor if your pills make you feel sick or if you have any other problems. Remember, diabetes pills don't lower blood glucose all by themselves. You will still want to follow a meal plan and exercise to help lower your blood glucose.

Taking Insulin

You need insulin if your body has stopped making insulin or if your body doesn't make enough. Everyone with type 1 diabetes needs insulin, and many people with type 2 diabetes do, too.

Insulin can't be taken as a pill. It is usually taken by shots or with an insulin pump or insulin pen. Insulin pumps are small machines, usually worn on the hip, that contain insulin and deliver small steady doses of insulin throughout the day, Some pumps are attached directly to the skin. Other people use an insulin pen, which holds a cartridge of insulin that is dialed to the prescribed dose of insulin and then injected.

Sometimes, people who take diabetes pills may need insulin shots for a while. If you get sick or have surgery, the diabetes pills may no longer work to lower your blood glucose.

Get more information about taking diabetes medicines.