Medication Is a One-Legged Stool
I’m writing a post about diabetes medications to share with you later, and this is no easy task. As you might expect, when diabetes and prediabetes affect one-third of the entire population pharmaceutical businesses take notice. Consequently, there are now available many, many different medications targeted at treating type 2 diabetes. I’ll try and make sense of those options in my “almost finished” piece on medications, but there is some “fine print” that I want to discuss. And, unlike the diabetes medication TV commercials you see every day, I’m putting my “fine print” at the beginning.
Importance of lifestyle changes for diabetes management
Diabetes medications are fabulous, and taking your medication as prescribed is an essential part of effective diabetes management. But, medication alone is not enough. There are very important lifestyle components to diabetes management which are EQUALLY IMPORTANT to your long term health. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll take it from the 800+ page reference text for certified diabetes educators, The Art and Science of Diabetes Self-Management Education (American Association of Diabetes Educators), which states the following in the introduction of its discussion of diabetes medications. “Any pharmocological treatment for type 2 diabetes is only a supplement to lifestyle changes.”
I like to use the image of a stool, where you might imagine the legs of this stool representing diabetes management responsibilities – taking your medication as prescribed is one leg of the stool to be sure. But, how stable is a stool with only one leg? There are one-legged stools, but if you’re shopping for one you’ll find them intended for temporary sitting. Diabetes management is NOT temporary. You need a diabetes management stool that is stable.
Medication is not the only answer for diabetes
And so the lifestyle factors – diet, physical activity, stress reduction – are not responsibilities that medication replaces. It is, in fact, almost the opposite – medication supplements the essential lifestyle responsibilities of diabetes self-management. THIS IS A MESSAGE YOU CANNOT MISS.
We are so conditioned to the miraculous advances in medical science that we expect the medication to be the answer. And while that day may eventually come for type 2 diabetes, managing blood glucose levels and avoiding the many potential complications of diabetes today means making sure your stool has enough legs to keep you stable.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?