Diabetes Care & Treatment
Blood sugar control is goal of treatment for all patients with diabetes, regardless of whether they have Type 1 or 2 diabetes. This can be accomplished by injections of insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar, or medications in pill form. For Type 1 diabetes, the body makes no insulin at all, so insulin must be injected.
Insulin was originally obtained from porcine or bovine sources (pigs and cows) after it was discovered in the 1920’s, but is now available in a synthetic human form. All three types are used today. Pharmaceutical companies prepare different formulations; in fact over 20 varieties are on the market. One of the major differences is how quickly the insulin begins to work, and how long it lasts. There are many combinations of short and long acting insulin, and your doctor will work with you to prescribe a regimen that is best for you.
Glucose pumps can also be used to deliver a regular dose of insulin through a catheter placed under the skin of the abdomen. Diabetes atients with insulin pumps can achieve a more steady level of blood sugar, and do not have to inject themselves several times a day. In the 1950’s the first medications to control high blood sugar, called sulfonylureas were developed. Second generation sulfonylureas are still used today as a mainstay of diabetes. Since then, many different glucose-lowering medications have been developed. These include meglitinides, biguatides, thiazolidinediones and alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. Since each of these medications works at a different place in the metabolism of Glucose, sometimes two or more of these drugs can be combined for better blood sugar control.