7 Signs Your Diabetes Medication Might Not Be Working
Following your medication and diet plan are quintessential for effective diabetes management; but the work doesn’t end here. As a part of regular checkups, your medication needs to be intermittently adjusted to make sure it stays effective, because diabetes rarely ever stays the same. Here are a few warning signals that may indicate that your diabetes medication might not be working, and may require a dosage readjustment, or a medication swap:
1. An A1C That Doesn’t Stabilize
In addition to daily self-monitoring, the A1C blood test is performed every 2-3 months to check blood glucose levels. While a decimal point increase over the average 7% isn’t usually a cause for concern, A1C levels that climb 2 or more points higher than the normal range for 3 consecutive exams might indicate that your medications aren’t working as they should.
In such cases, consult with your doctor immediately for relevant dietary, lifestyle, and medicinal changes to prevent the various consequences that accompany a glucose spike.
2. 130 mg/dl Is the Fasting Blood Sugar Norm
As a general rule, blood glucose levels should not be over 130 mg/dL first thing in the morning-except when heavy, difficult to digest foods are consumed later at night. However, a regularly high fasting blood glucose is a positive indicator of insufficient doses that need might need readjustment.
3. Fatigue and Thirst Only 4 Hours After A Meal or Snack
One of the purposes of diabetes medication is to control blood sugar spikes after every meal (post-prandial blood sugar). However, if the dosage isn’t right, or if the medication itself is no longer effective, you may continue to feel the effects of high blood sugar (above 140 mg/dL), namely increased thirst and lethargy, hours after eating.
If left unchecked, these regular spikes can accelerate diabetic neuropathy (diabetes-related nerve damage), in the eyes, fingers and toes; leading to numbness and vision problems.
4. An All Time Insulin Low
In most patients with Type 1 and some patients with Type 2 diabetes, insulin pumps, like the Insulato Insulin Pump, or injections are used to regulate blood sugar levels by overcoming insulin resistance (the body’s inability to use naturally manufactured insulin). However, since the body steadily requires higher amounts of insulin to continue successful blood sugar breakdown as the disease progresses, the amount of artificial insulin required also changes.
Low insulin levels are best identified by a return of overall diabetes symptoms like lethargy, increased urination, and blurred vision, among others.
5. Shakiness, Dizziness, and Lightheartedness 1-2 Hours After Eating or Exercising
Positive lifestyle changes like weight loss, dietary adjustments, and increased physical activity improve the body’s insulin function and blood sugar control. This causes diabetes medication to have the opposite effect on the body, i.e. reduce blood sugar to lower-than-normal levels.
Therefore, if your symptoms are accompanied by significant lifestyle and bodily changes, consult with your doctor to find out whether you require a lower dosage than the current one.
6. Constant Carb Cravings
Unable to use the large stores of unused glucose in the blood, the body signals the brain to induce what we call ‘cravings’ to fulfill the body’s energy requirements. These constant cravings for carbohydrate-laden foods, despite regular full meals, are a sign of high blood sugar levels, and the medication’s ineffectiveness at controlling them.
7. Staying at The Same Dosage For 5 Years or More
As previously stated, diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that will continue to evolve. This means that what might be effective at the initial time of diagnosis may not be as effective a few years down the line.
So, instead of keeping to your original dosage and medication, consult with your doctor and continue observing for any changes in your symptoms; from subtle ones resulting from gradual positive lifestyle adjustments, to drastic changes in case diet and weight are not controlled.
Checking your medication is an important part of effective diabetes management. So while it may be difficult to acknowledge negative blood sugar changes despite following a strict diet and lifestyle program, know that dosage adjustment is necessary to ensure good life quality and keep the numerous diabetes-related complications at bay.