Was I right to refuse diabetes medicine?

Monday January 25 2021
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When a person produces little or no insulin or does not properly use the insulin that is produced, then the glucose in the blood rises, leading to a disease condition called diabetes or locally sugar diabetes

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

After a diabetes checkup, the doctor said I was okay at blood sugar 112 mg/litre. During another visit to hospital, tests put my sugar levels at 109 mg/litre. A doctor advised me to take Metformin, a drug used to treat diabetes, which I rejected. Was I right? Everisto

Dear Everisto,
When a person produces little or no insulin or does not properly use the insulin that is produced, then the glucose in the blood rises, leading to a disease condition called diabetes or locally sugar diabetes.
A fasting blood sugar level of 60-100 mg/dL is considered normal but above this but less than 125 mg/dL is considered as prediabetes while above 126 mg/dL or higher indicates type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes means one is not yet diabetic but the pancreas is not controlling sugar as desired, hence putting the affected person at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke among others.
Being overweight, sedentary (inactive), having had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) and a family history of diabetes are some of the factors that may make one a prediabetes. The same factors might put one at a greater risk of developing diabetes.

One with prediabetes requires lifestyle changes to delay or avert development of diabetes. The changes include eating healthy foods including those low in fat and sugar but high in fibre (fruits, vegetables and whole grains), exercising at least 30 minutes every other day, losing excess weight if obese and stopping smoking among others.

Although lifestyle changes are preferred in treating prediabetes, if one is at a higher risk of diabetes or for one reason or the other may not carry out lifestyle changes, metformin, a drug for diabetes may be prescribed. Metformin tends to make the body more sensitive to the insulin produced by the pancreas, hence dealing with one of the causes of prediabetes and eventually diabetes, insulin resistance. 

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