Diabetes is extremely common in the United States. According to some sources, nearly half of all American adults have Type 2 diabetes or are at risk of getting the disease. For people with diabetes, a key to good health is good medicine management.

At Peachtree Pharmacy, we counsel our diabetic patients in the Atlanta area on ways that help them better manage their medications to reduce costs and improve overall health. If not properly managed, the consequences of diabetes can be severe, including cardiovascular disease; nerve, kidney, eye, and foot damage; and hearing problems.
In addition, poor management of diabetes medication can cause dementia. A study of 350,000 people with Type 2 diabetes found that people with poorly managed diabetes were also 50 percent more likely to suffer from dementia.

So staying on top of medications is critical to good health. At the core of this, of course, is monitoring and managing blood sugar, or glucose. Medications are designed to help you do this if diet and exercise are not enough. Medications may be oral or administered by injection or pump.

Dr. April Hang, Pharmacist at Peachtree Phamacy, suggests these guidelines to follow to make sure your medicine are working as well as they can:

  1. Be consistent. Take medications on time, and make them part of your daily routine. Should you miss a dose, know what to do to either catch up or modify your diet or behavior to compensate.
  2. Communicate with your doctor. Medication effectiveness can change over time, so it’s important to let your doctor know if your prescriptions aren’t working as well as they once did. Also report any side effects; with this knowledge, your doctor may recommend minor changes that can make a big difference in how you feel.
  3. If you’re a senior, regular communications with your doctor is even more important. As you age, your body responds differently to drugs. This means you’re at greater risk of overtreatment, which can cause blood sugar levels to go too low. And this can cause problems such as confusion or falls.
  4. Anticipate that you may need to cut back or change medications periodically. Should you notice a difference in how you feel, discuss it with your doctor and be willing to try something new, if he or she suggests it. NEVER change a medication on your own, but be open to a new drug if your doctor thinks it might help.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your pharmacist. We’re happy to help you better understand your medications; it’s part of our mission as your health care resource.

“One of the most dangerous things about diabetes is not communicating with your health care providers,” said Dr. Hang. “It could put you at risk or prevent you from enjoying life as much as you should.”