Diabetes Agent > Common Concerns & Issues about Diabetes

Managing Medication - Diabetes Agent

Many people, including those with diabetes, have chemical imbalances in their bodies that, if left untreated, will have a negative impact on their health and possibly the quality of their life. People with diabetes have problems breaking down the foods they eat into glucose, which the body needs to fuel itself. In addition, many people with diabetes also have trouble with the fat levels in their blood and with their blood pressure.

Fortunately, there are many very effective medications that can correct these problems — if you take them. The simple concept is that medicines only can help you if you take them. Just like any out-of-balance system, you can restore more normal functioning if you replace the imbalances in your body’s chemistry.

Some people find that taking medication is the hardest part of managing their diabetes. Experts often advise integrating the medication into your daily routine or habits, but this can be harder than it sounds. These links and videos can offer concrete tips that will make your life easier as you manage your medication.


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Videos

Dave Managing Medication

Dave talks about how creating a daily ritual helps him stick to his medication plan.

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Sarah Managing Medication

Both Sarahs are on an insulin pump; one comes in pink!

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Priscilla Managing Medication

Pricilla’s transition from oral medication to insulin.

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Elizabeth Managing Medication

Elizabeth talks about her reaction to switching to insulin during her pregnancy.

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Luke Managing Medication

Luke talks about going from oral medication to the insulin pump.

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Donald Managing Medication

Donald discusses the importance of listening to his doctor.

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Gene Managing Medication

Gene talks about how he’s trying to avoid taking insulin.

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Zac Managing Medication

Zac talks about calibrating his insulin pump settings to his lifestyle.

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Jessica Managing Medication

Jessica discusses her appreciation for insulin pump technology.

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Carlos Managing Medication

Carlos talks about his fear of taking insulin and how he came to terms with it.

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Amber Story

Amber’s Story

Amber shares her story of diagnosis at age nine and her subsequent journey to health and diabetes activism.

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Tools & Resources

Is there a particular kind of diet that can help fight diabetes?

Generally, you should avoid fad diets and steer yourself instead toward eating well-balanced meals, which include fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lower-fat meats and healthy fats.

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Who is most likely to get diabetic retinopathy?

Anyone with diabetes. The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she will get diabetic retinopathy. Between 40-45 percent of those with diagnosed diabetes have some degree of diabetic retinopathy.

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Once a diabetic, always a diabetic?

Someone living with diabetes can lose a bunch of weight, eat right, and get their numbers in control, and as such, they have no signs or symptoms of diabetes but, like everyone, they could slip right back into those bad numbers if they do not maintain their lifestyle and medication behaviors. For Type 1 diabetes, you […]

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What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?

There are often no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. There is no pain and vision may not change until the disease becomes severe. Blurred vision may occur when the macula (the part of the retina that provides sharp, central vision) swells from the leaking fluid. This condition is called macular edema. If […]

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Can I do anything to prevent diabetes?

Yes, try to achieve a healthful weight, stay physically active and eat a nutritious diet.

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I had gestational diabetes. How soon after having the baby should I get my blood glucose rechecked?

About 6-8 weeks after delivery. Like 90% of the women with gestational diabetes, your BG levels will probably return to normal right after your baby is born. However, you still run the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, prior studies have shown women who have had gestational diabetes are at risk (of up […]

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How did my child get type 1 diabetes? We have no family history.

Research has shown that at most, only 15 percent of people with type 1 diabetes have an affected first-degree relative – a sibling, parent, or offspring. Research suggests that genes account for less than half the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. These findings suggest that there may be environmental factors that influence the development […]

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Why take diabetes medications?

Many people, including those with diabetes, have chemical imbalances in their bodies that, if left untreated, will have a negative impact on their health and possibly the quality of their life. Fortunately, there are a wide range of medicines that are designed to restore these imbalances and, by doing so, promote health. People with diabetes […]

Read More »

How is diabetic retinopathy detected?

If you have diabetes, you should have your eyes examined at least once a year. Your eyes should be dilated during the exam, which means eyedrops are used to enlarge your pupils. This dilation allows the eye care professional to see more of the inside of your eyes to check for signs of the disease.

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Diabetes and Sex: What’s the 411?

Good, juicy question! First, the good news: many, many people with diabetes enjoy a healthy sex life with their partners, despite the challenges caused by the disease. Like any other complication, sexual issues require awareness, communication with your doctor, and a good plan to lower their incidence. Sex is an important part of life and […]

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What is the treatment for prediabetes?

Treatment consists of losing a modest amount of weight (5-10 percent of total body weight) through diet and moderate exercise, such as walking, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Don’t worry if you can’t get to your ideal body weight. A loss of just 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference. […]

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I hate to exercise. Can I just eat right and skip the exercise to avoid diabetes?

Sorry, no. Exercise is vital. It not only helps to keep your weight down, but it also assists your body in the maximum utilization of the foods you eat. But, remember that exercise is not just that hour of sweating at the gym. It’s also all the movement you do throughout the day that can […]

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Is type 1 diabetes hereditary?

Researchers are still trying to get a clear picture about how genes and environmental factors interact to determine a person’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Forty percent of everyone in the United States carries one or more of the HLA genes (human leukocyte antigen) which lead to increased risk of type 1 diabetes. To […]

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My doctor is starting me on medication. Is that all I have to do to control my diabetes?

No. Medication helps, but if you have diabetes you still need to manage your food intake to create a balance between medication, food, and activity. You also need to test your blood sugar level one or more times a day to ensure your treatment plan is working. Diabetes is a self-managed disease. In other words, […]

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I’ve seen sugar-free foods in the grocery store. Does that mean I can eat as much of those foods as I want?

There are many products that are sold as being “sugar-free,” “reduced sugar,” “light,” “no sugar added,” and so forth. These labels can be confusing and sometimes misleading. While the amount of sugar in a product might be lower, it’s important to remember that sugar is only one type of carbohydrate, and all carbohydrates affect your […]

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Where can I find health insurance for myself or my child with type 1 diabetes?

The federal government’s new site, Healthcare.gov, has information about health insurance options as well as an easy-to-use guide to help you find out which private insurance plans, public programs and community services are available to you. Also, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) has a publication entitled “Financial Help for […]

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What is pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is when your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes as effectively. As a result, your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be considered clearly diabetic. Note: a person has pre-diabetes when their blood sugar is borderline high, and may have […]

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What are some of the problems I might experience and what I should do about them?

Typical symptoms of high blood sugar include extreme thirst, frequent urination, and feeling tired all the time. You might also have dry, itchy skin or blurred vision. If you have a family history of diabetes, you should be tested at your annual physical. Sometimes, catching blood sugar elevations in the early stages can give you […]

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If I have diabetes, does that mean I’ll be on meds forever?

Not necessarily. Sometimes changing your diet, losing weight and increasing your activity level can control type 2. “Since overeating and a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of diabetes, interventions that reduce or improve these factors can almost always improve blood sugar levels,” says David M. Nathan, M.D., director of the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts […]

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Is a cure for diabetes on the horizon?

Though there is currently no cure for diabetes, a great deal of research is being performed all over the world. For now, the medical community is emphasizing the need to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes in people by emphasizing good nutrition, physical activity and healthy weight.

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Why do so many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure?

When blood sugar is too high for long periods of time, it damages the vascular system, which then impairs blood flow to all of the tissues of the body. This can have all sorts of life threatening implications, including high blood pressure. Vascular and heart disease are the leading cause of shortened lifespan for persons […]

Read More »

What do I need to know about type 1 diabetes in school?

School presents a host of challenging issues for children with T1D, and it’s important to know how to work with the school to ensure the best care for your child. JDRF’s School Advisory Toolkit is a comprehensive resource for parents, teachers, nurses, and everyone who provides care for a child with type 1 diabetes in […]

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Where can I get a medical ID for my child?

A number of companies make medical alert IDs and products specifically marketed toward children with type 1 diabetes. The Children with Diabetes website has a comprehensive listing of medical ID products.

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Diabetes Medical Alerts

Without question, Type 1 Diabetics should wear some sort of medical alert bracelet or necklace at all times. Type 2′s on insulin should as well. The dangers of going low, or hypo, are just too great and you see news stories all the time of hypo diabetics being confused for a drunk and not given […]

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Who should get tested for prediabetes?

If you are overweight and age 45 or older, you should be checked for prediabetes during your next routine medical office visit. If your weight is normal and you’re over age 45, you should ask your doctor during a routine office visit if testing is appropriate. For adults younger than 45 and overweight, your doctor […]

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Can women with diabetes breastfeed their babies?

Unless your health care team advises you otherwise, yes. Breast milk provides the best nutrition for babies and breastfeeding is recommended for all mothers with either preexisting diabetes or gestational diabetes.

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What foods should a person with type 1 diabetes eat/avoid?

People with type 1 diabetes should discuss their individual dietary needs with their doctor. Individualized meal planning is an integral part of every diabetes care plan. The key to every plan is balancing diet, exercise, and insulin intake to achieve blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. It’s important that anyone new to […]

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What is diabetic eye disease?

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye disease that affects people with diabetes (glaucoma and cataracts are also common) and is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. The damage to the blood vessels in the retina caused by retinopathy can result in vision loss or blindness. The disease causes new blood vessels to […]

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What is the most common eye disease for people with diabetes?

Diabetic retinopathy. This disease is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, retinal blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. These changes […]

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What’s up with diabetes and my feet?

Diabetes often comes with other complications that affect your body’s ability to fight infections. Circulatory damage to your blood vessels means that less blood and oxygen is traveling to your feet. Nerve damage means that you might not be able to feel an injury or uncomfortable pressure on the skin of your foot. Together, this […]

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I’m already on medication, but my doctor prescribed another pill. Does this mean I’m getting sicker?

Your doctor may ask you to try one kind of pill. If it doesn’t help you reach your blood glucose targets, your doctor may ask you to: take more of the same pill add another kind of pill change to another type of pill start taking insulin start taking another injected medicine If your doctor […]

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How do I know whether I or my child is getting the best medical care available? Is there a list of recommended doctors and health care experts I can check?

Ultimately only you can determine whether or not you or your child is seeing the right doctor, but we will attempt to provide general guidelines to help you make that determination. On your next visit to your doctor, you may want to ask some or all of the following questions, in order to determine his […]

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So I have diabetes. It’s not a big deal. After all, there’s medicine to treat it now.

Would you say the same thing about asthma? Epilepsy? Osteoporosis? No! Like these conditions, diabetes is a chronic disease that you will have for the rest of your life. How you choose to treat your diabetes (or not) has a vital impact on how long that life will be. While there are medications to help […]

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Is type 2 diabetes curable or reversible?

At this point in time, there is no known cure for type 1 or type 2 diabetes. While symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be well controlled with diet and exercise in some people with type 2 diabetes, they continue to have the disease even if their blood glucose levels remain within target ranges.

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Should children be screened for prediabetes?

We are not recommending screening children for prediabetes because we don’t have enough evidence that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed in children at high risk for the disease. However, a study published in the March 14, 2002, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine found 25 percent of very obese children […]

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I need financial assistance for type 1 diabetes supplies and/or healthcare.

There are pharmaceutical assistance programs offered directly by some drug companies for people with type 1 diabetes who have little or no insurance to help offset the cost of supplies or prescription medications. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (888-477-2669) offers a point of access to hundreds of assistance programs that have joined together to provide […]

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My doctor said I’ll need to see a couple of different types of specialists to control my diabetes and handle some of the problems that come along with the disease. What kinds of specialists will I need to see and why?

There are four main types of doctors that people with diabetes typically consult, including endocrinologists, ophthalmologists or optometrists and podiatrists. Endocrinologists specialize in caring for those with diseases of the organs or glands that secrete hormones- like insulin. Problems with the vision and the eyes can result from poor blood sugar control, so people with […]

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What happens if I don’t manage my diabetes?

So, diabetes causes high blood glucose. Why is that such a bad thing? Glucose is fuel for our bodies, so more fuel available in the blood seems like it would be a good thing, right? Well, no. When there’s too much glucose circulating in the blood, it attaches to and damages the walls of all […]

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5 Things I Wish I Had Known When Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

My diagnosis as a Type 2 diabetic caught me completely by surprise. I knew almost nothing about it and had to get up to speed on the disease, fast. Here’s a quick list of a few things I wish I had known immediately after getting off the phone with my doctor: Am I going to […]

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How long will my child have type 1 diabetes? Can you outgrow it?

At this point, type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease, meaning you never outgrow it. However, JDRF is doing everything in its power to find a cure and also produce treatments that improve people’s lives as soon as possible. We were founded in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, who made a […]

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I have type 1 diabetes and need help finding life insurance.

People with T1D may encounter difficulties obtaining life insurance. It may be necessary to do some individual research to find a company that will provide you with a policy. While JDRF does not keep lists of companies that offer life insurance to people with type 1 diabetes, we can offer some direction to help you […]

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Can diabetes cause erectile dysfunction?

Up to 75% of men with diabetes experience some type of difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. Erection is a cooperative effort between nerves and blood vessels. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to nerves (peripheral neuropathy) and blood vessels, impairing their ability to work together. The key to managing erectile dysfunction related to diabetes is […]

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My mom was diagnosed with diabetes. Does that mean I’ll get it too?

A family history of diabetes puts you at increased risk, but so does just being over age 45. The disease is also more common among Alaska natives, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans and African-Americans. Even if you’re in one of these high-risk groups, you can protect yourself by striving for a healthy lifestyle and […]

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My friend says she has pre-diabetes. What’s that? Is she doomed to get full-blown diabetes?

Pre-diabetes means that your blood sugar is not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. However, if those with pre-diabetes fail to make lifestyle changes, they are at increased risk of developing “full-blown” or Type 2 diabetes.

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But there’s medicine to treat diabetes now. So is it really that big a deal if you get it?

It is a big deal if you get any chronic disease. In fact, with diabetes medication is not the answer or the sole treatment. Those with diabetes still must eat healthfully, test their blood sugar regularly and exercise.

Read More »

What are the symptoms of type 1 diabetes (T1D)?

The symptoms may occur suddenly, and include one or more of the following: Extreme thirst Frequent urination Drowsiness, lethargy Sugar in urine Sudden vision changes Increased appetite Sudden weight loss Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath Heavy, labored breathing Stupor, unconsciousness If you think you or your child has diabetes, call a doctor immediately, […]

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Could I have prediabetes and not know it?

Absolutely. People with prediabetes don’t often have symptoms. In fact, millions of people have diabetes and don’t know it because symptoms develop so gradually, people often don’t recognize them. Some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of diabetes include unusual thirst, a frequent desire to urinate, blurred vision, or a feeling of being tired […]

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Drug Types Info Sheet

What do my drugs do for me?

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How is Diabetes Managed?

Host David Fatback explains the different ways you can keep your blood glucose under control.

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Are there any diabetes medications that have a higher incidence of side effects amongst women who use them?

Yes, the oral medications classified as thiazolidinediones (TZDs) may cause women who are not ovulating and haven’t gone through menopause to begin ovulating again, enabling them to conceive. Also, oral contraceptives may be less effective when taking this medication.

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Doctor Prescription Reminder

This card helps you manage your medication.

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Why do so many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure?

When blood sugar is too high for long periods of time, it damages the vascular system, which then impairs blood flow to all of the tissues of the body. This can have all sorts of life threatening implications, including high blood pressure. Vascular and heart disease are the leading cause of shortened lifespan for persons […]

Read More »

I’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes and I was too embarrassed to ask my doctor to really explain what this disease is. Can you tell me more about the disease?

If you have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes your pancreas is not able to produce the hormone, insulin, which is needed to control your blood sugar. You’ll need to take insulin every day. Currently, insulin is only given by injection. You’ll also need to follow a meal plan, exercise and test your blood sugar.

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Diabetes and Sex: What’s the 411?

Good, juicy question! First, the good news: many, many people with diabetes enjoy a healthy sex life with their partners, despite the challenges caused by the disease. Like any other complication, sexual issues require awareness, communication with your doctor, and a good plan to lower their incidence. Sex is an important part of life and […]

Read More »

How is diabetes managed?

1) Healthy eating: Why Eat Right? If you have diabetes, you will quickly learn that how you eat can have a significant impact on your ability to control your glucose. Certain foods will really elevate your glucose and make it hard to control your diabetes. Naturally, you want to avoid large amounts of concentrated sugars, […]

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My doctor is starting me on medication. Is that all I have to do to control my diabetes?

No. Medication helps, but if you have diabetes you still need to manage your food intake to create a balance between medication, food, and activity. You also need to test your blood sugar level one or more times a day to ensure your treatment plan is working. Diabetes is a self-managed disease. In other words, […]

Read More »

If I have diabetes, does that mean I’ll be on meds forever?

Not necessarily. Sometimes changing your diet, losing weight and increasing your activity level can control type 2. “Since overeating and a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of diabetes, interventions that reduce or improve these factors can almost always improve blood sugar levels,” says David M. Nathan, M.D., director of the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts […]

Read More »

It’s difficult to eat right when I travel. Do you have any suggestions?

If you take oral medications and/or insulin, you should always carry a simple form of carbohydrate such as juice, glucose tablets, candy or regular soda in case of hypoglycemia. Maintaining a diabetic diet can be challenging, especially at airports, highway rest stops or food courts in shopping malls. Look for regular- or junior-sized meals or […]

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What is an insulin pump?

An insulin pump is a small electronic device that provides a continuous, low flow of insulin (called a basal rate) to the wearer via an infusion line. The end of the infusion line has a small needle called an insertion set that is pushed just under the surface of the skin. The user can program […]

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Medication Tracker Card / Magnet

Use this card to help manage your medication. Missed doses matter!

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Previsit Form

When you get to your next appointment, your doctor will have questions. Will you have the answers? Be prepared with the help of this printable form.

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Managing Medication Handout

Having diabetes means that your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high. Monitoring your glucose gives you vital feedback about your diabetes management techniques. Here are some frequently asked questions about monitoring glucose.

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Medications

If you aren’t able to control your Type 2 diabetes through diet and exercise, there are numerous medications available to you. Often considered the “last resort”, insulin is always an option. Sometimes a doctor will prescribe insulin for a newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetic in order to get dangerously high levels down to a more […]

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How does smoking affect my diabetes?

It is commonly known that smoking has many negative effects on the body, including, but not limited to: lung disease, premature infant births with low body weight, damage to the circulatory system, high blood pressure, and cancers of the mouth and respiratory tract. Effects on the circulatory system include constriction of the blood vessels in […]

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Side Effects Risk Info Sheet

Will I Have Side Effects? You have probably heard about side effects that someone you know experienced when they took a drug that your doctor wants you to take.  You may also have heard about side effects while listening to television or radio commercials.  Hearing this can be scary. What is important to remember is […]

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I’m already on medication, but my doctor prescribed another pill. Does this mean I’m getting sicker?

Your doctor may ask you to try one kind of pill. If it doesn’t help you reach your blood glucose targets, your doctor may ask you to: take more of the same pill add another kind of pill change to another type of pill start taking insulin start taking another injected medicine If your doctor […]

Read More »

Side Effects Info Sheet

Different drugs can have different side effects. Some side effects are normal and others may mean that you are having difficulties that need to be dealt with, possibly immediately.

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What are the complications of using birth control pills while having diabetes?

Birth control pills may raise your BG levels. Using them for longer than a year or 2 may also increase your risk of complications. For instance, if you develop high blood pressure while on the pill, you increase the chance that eye or kidney disease will worsen.

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Appointment Journal

People forget things after their appointments. This form helps you remember what you and your doctor discuss.

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Long Drug Fact Sheet

This sheet provides information about the drugs Lisinopril, Prinivil, Zesteril, Statin.

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But there’s medicine to treat diabetes now. So is it really that big a deal if you get it?

It is a big deal if you get any chronic disease. In fact, with diabetes medication is not the answer or the sole treatment. Those with diabetes still must eat healthfully, test their blood sugar regularly and exercise.

Read More »

I have type 2 diabetes, and just started insulin. Does that mean I’m type 1 now?

No. Many people with type 2 diabetes who can’t adequately control their blood glucose levels with diet, exercise, or oral medications go on insulin. The type of diabetes you have is defined by the cause, not the treatment. People with type 1 diabetes have experienced beta cell destruction and make insufficient insulin to control their […]

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Once a diabetic, always a diabetic?

Someone living with diabetes can lose a bunch of weight, eat right, and get their numbers in control, and as such, they have no signs or symptoms of diabetes but, like everyone, they could slip right back into those bad numbers if they do not maintain their lifestyle and medication behaviors. For Type 1 diabetes, you […]

Read More »

Can diabetes cause erectile dysfunction?

Up to 75% of men with diabetes experience some type of difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. Erection is a cooperative effort between nerves and blood vessels. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to nerves (peripheral neuropathy) and blood vessels, impairing their ability to work together. The key to managing erectile dysfunction related to diabetes is […]

Read More »

Why take diabetes medications?

Many people, including those with diabetes, have chemical imbalances in their bodies that, if left untreated, will have a negative impact on their health and possibly the quality of their life. Fortunately, there are a wide range of medicines that are designed to restore these imbalances and, by doing so, promote health. People with diabetes […]

Read More »

Taking Medications Info Sheet

“I don’t like taking medicines. I don’t feel it is a good idea to take artificial substances into my body.” These sentences express the feelings of some people. As a result, many decide to not take medicines that their provider feels would benefit their health. Why should you take medicine?

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One of my medications has started giving me really bad stomach aches. I should discontinue its use immediately, right?

Wrong! Many of us need medications to improve our health. Sometimes when we try them, we experience uncomfortable or negative side effects. When we do, it’s really important to tell our health care team that we’re having this experience and what the side effects are. Much of the information about managing side effects that you […]

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What happens if I don’t manage my diabetes?

So, diabetes causes high blood glucose. Why is that such a bad thing? Glucose is fuel for our bodies, so more fuel available in the blood seems like it would be a good thing, right? Well, no. When there’s too much glucose circulating in the blood, it attaches to and damages the walls of all […]

Read More »

Refill Reminder Card / Magnet

Use this card to help manage your prescription refills. Missed does matter!

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News

Taking your medication pays off

If you are taking multiple medications every day, keeping to your regimen can be a big challenge. But taking all of your medications as your doctor instructed is one of the biggest factors in staying in control of your diabetes and reducing your risk of complications. The payoff for medication adherence can be huge; an […]

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What are you taking?

Due to the rapid increase in the rate of diabetes in the United States, there has been a lot of healthcare research focused on finding the best way to provide quality care in the most cost-efficient manner possible. One recent study looked at the prescriptions type 2 diabetes patients are receiving when they first start […]

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