Month: June 2017

Side Effects Of Diabetes Medications

Diabetes is a condition in which excess glucose is found in an individual’s blood.

This can happen due to various reasons. Either enough insulin is not being produced in the body (Type 1 Diabetes) or the body is resistant to the insulin being produced (Type 2 Diabetes), often defective genes (Genetic) are responsible for this condition.

diabetes medications

Insulin is the hormone signalling cells to absorb glucose for later usage such as energy cosumption. So when there is an issue with respect to insulin, glucose is not taken up by the cells and it ends up getting accumulated in the bloodstream. This is when diabetes is diagnosed. Depending upon the condition, doctors prescribe either insulin doses or medication or both to the patient.

As with most drugs, medications prescribed for diabetes have their side effects too.

The most commonly prescribed medication is metformin, commonly known as glucophage which comes under the category of biguanides. It improves the body’s response to insulin, thereby improving glucose uptake. But the side effects of this drug cause stomach problems like pain, diarrhea, discomfort and decreased appetite.

Sulphonylureas are the oldest class of drugs being given to diabetics. Their role, like others, is to reduce the amount of blood glucose in our body. But when the blood glucose becomes too low, it leads to a condition known as hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a serious side effect of sulphonylureas besides weight gain. Other side effects include liver disease, reduced red blood cell count, skin rashes, etc.

Thiazolidinediones or TZDs include medications with the name of Actos and Avandia. They make the muscle, liver and fat cells more sensitive to insulin. But they are prone to causing heart failure and bladder cancer. Other side effects include fatigue, muscle pain, sinus, headache, bone fracture, hypoglycemia and sore throat.

The next class of drugs is called DPP-4 inhibitors. DPP4 stands for Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor. They help the pancreas in producing more insulin. They are tolerated by the body to a large extent, but can cause some side effects like Urinary tract infections (UTIs), fluid retention, headaches, facial swelling, joint pain, etc. The generic names of drugs of this class include Sitagliptin, Saxaglipton and Linaglipton. They are commonly available as Tanuvia, Onglyza and Tradjenta.

The newest class of drugs to come into the market is the SGLT-2 inhibitors (Sodium Glucose Co-transporter -2). They help the body in getting rid of excess glucose by eliminating it in the urine. They cause obvious side effects like UTIs, vaginal/penis yeast infections or upper respiratory tract infections.

There is another class of drugs which delay the digestion of food molecules like starch, carbohydrates which in turn cause delay in production of glucose. They are known as α- Glucosidase inhibitors and can cause bloating, diarrhea and gas as side effects. Their side effects are obvious because they disturb the digestive system. They are only prescribed rarely because they are not very effective. Amylin analogues also have the same effect as α- Glucosidase.

Meglitinides act just like sulphonylureas. The only difference is that they are short acting. They also cause weight gain and hypoglycemia, but the risk is definitely lower.

Among the bile acid sequestrants, Colesevelam (Welchol) is the only drug used. They decrease the amount of bile acid that is reabsorbed. They cause heartburns, constipation, and stomach pain or increase the triglyceride levels.
Dopamine agonists also have only one approved drug- Bromocriptine (Cycloset). They can cause weakness, nausea, dizziness, headache, runny nose, sinusitis, etc.

Lactic acid is a rare side effect caused by some of these drugs. It is not commonly seen, but if it occurs and is not treated on time, it can be deadly.

Medications should always be given by a specialized diabetic medical practitioner. The drugs are usually given in combinations, between themselves or with insulin. Side effects are almost always there, but their intensity and frequency can be controlled. Doses should be taken only as prescribed and at the appropriate time. In short, utmost care should be taken by both, the doctor and the patient.

As you can see from all the above side effects, if you have been diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, be prepared for a tough ride. But alternatively you can also try to reverse the disease naturally.

The Various Types Of Carbs

some carbs
Carbs are vital to our health.

They supply our bodies with energy. Carbs are compounds that are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in the ratio of 1:2:1. There are different types of carbs and some forms are more beneficial to our health than others. Carbohydrates can be classified into simple and complex carbs, whole grain starches and fibers.

Simple and complex carbs differ in their structure and the speed of their digestion and absorption.

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple sugars are the simplest forms of carbs. They are easily absorbed and can quickly supply the body with energy. They include monosaccharides and disaccharides. Monosaccharides are formed of one unit of sugar. They are usually referred to as sugars. They include glucose, galactose and fructose. Disaccharides consist of 2 sugar units such as lactose (found in milk) and sucrose. Simple sugars are naturally found in fruits, vegetables and milk which also have other nutrients.

Eating foods to which simple sugars are added leads to a quick rise in the sugar level in the blood. Insulin is quickly released to bring the sugar level in the blood back to normal and leads to fat storage. If our food intake is greater that the calories burned, this can result in weight gain and can increase the risk of cancer and type-2 diabetes. It is recommended to reduce the consumption of simple sugars and to use complex sugars instead (such as whole grains).

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) consist of 3 or more sugars in a chain. They take longer to break down and digest. They include starches and fibers. They also include the refined starches that have been processed. During processing, the germ and bran are removed from these carbohydrates.

Refined starches include white bread, white pasta, white rice and white flour. Most of the nutrients have been lost during processing. Low-fiber diets with the consumption of refined starches were found to be among the leading causes of type-2 diabetes that is increasing at epidemic rates.

Whole Grains And Fibers

On the other hand, unrefined carbs (or whole grains) are packed with nutrients. They contain fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. They are better dietary options than refined carbs. They include brown bread, whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat pasta. Fibers are considered complex carbohydrates.

However, they are not digested and absorbed. They absorb water and make the stools softer. Fibers increase the bulkiness of stools and make them easier to pass. This protects from constipation and hemorrhoids. Fibers can be found in oatmeal, nuts, popcorn and in many vegetables and fruits.

Fibers and whole grains stay for a longer time in your stomach and so you feel fuller. They also don’t cause the rapid rise in the blood sugar level as that caused by simple sugars. Therefore, they were found to protect from heart disease and diabetes.

It is recommended that the daily carbohydrate intake should form 45% to 65% of the total calories consumed. You can refer to the Nutrition Facts label to determine the carbohydrate content of any food product. Some Nutrition Facts label also give the amounts of the different types of carbohydrates found in the product.

It is recommended to choose whole-grains as well as high-fiber food. Eating sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables daily can give the body the needed carbs. It is also suggested to avoid foods and drinks to which sugar was added in large amounts. It is also better to avoid refined carbs.

Establishing a healthy lifestyle where we choose the best carbs is an essential step for a better health. It can take time and some practice to choose the right carbs and to know how to incorporate them in our daily diet. However, that will protect your body in the long run from serious diseases.