Will a type 2 diabetic always have to take oral medication?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

When a type 2 diabetic start taking oral medication, will that person always need diabetes medication?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

This is a good question!

If you are told that you have "prediabetes", where your blood sugar levels are slightly higher than normal (but not high enough to be classified as diabetic), you sometimes can reverse or slow down the conversion to true diabetes by losing weight, exercising, and eating well. However, this is very hard for people to do, especially as a life long change, so many people eventually progress to diabetes.

Diabetes is broken down into two types: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is also known as "adult onset diabetes", as this disease develops over years of time, and usually is diagnosed in adults. This is in contrast to type 1, which is when someone cannot make insulin, and usually diagnosed in young children.

As type 2 diabetes progresses, medications will need to be started to help control blood sugar. Some medications stimulate your pancreas to produce or release insulin, while others stop the release of glucose from your liver. Some medications even make your body cells more sensitive to insulin, which allows the blood sugar to be absorbed. So, usually by the time someone starts medications, they will need them until their health care provider tells them to stop or change to another medications.

Please do not feel bad about taking medications for you diabetes. The most important thing about diabetes is trying to control your sugars as best as possible, so that the complications of diabetes do not develop. These complications can include loss of vision, foot problems, heart problems, circulatory problems, and kidney failure, so it is important to stay healthy. Good luck!