Biggest Diabetes Medication Myths

African American woman checking blood sugarLifestyle changes, including healthy food choices and physical activity, are always at the forefront of diabetes management. But when diet and physical activity alone are not enough to keep your blood glucose—also called blood sugar, at safe levels you may need diabetes medicines. In fact, 9 out of every 10 people with diabetes require diabetes medications, insulin injections, or both to keep blood glucose levels on target. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends a blood glucose target of 80 – 130 mg/dl before meals and less than 180 mg/dl 1-2 hours after meals.  Keeping your blood glucose levels as close to the ADA guidelines as possible can prevent or slow the progression of serious diabetes complications.

There are many diabetes medicines available, and different people need different meds depending on the type of diabetes they have. Your aunt’s diabetes may be different from your friend’s so their medicine may be different as well. The result is that there are a lot of myths and misinformation about diabetes medicines.

Here are 6 of the most common diabetes medication myths and the reality.

1. Myth: Once you start taking diabetes medicine you can never stop.

Reality: There are temporary conditions such as surgery that cause elevated glucose levels. After surgery with continued emphasis on healthy eating habits and regular physical activity, glucose levels may be controlled without medication. On the other hand, bariatric surgery for weight loss reduces blood glucose levels. After bariatric surgery 78 percent of people with type 2 diabetes go into remission and no longer require diabetes medications.

2. Myth: If you don’t take diabetes medicine your diabetes must not be serious.

Reality: Not everyone who has diabetes takes diabetes medicine. If the body produces some insulin, weight loss, healthy eating habits, and regular physical activity can help insulin work more effectively. However, diabetes does change over time, and diabetes medicine may be needed later.