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Medication Is a One-Legged Stool.

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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Thomas A McAtee Jr. moderator
    2 years ago

    Very good reading. Way too many think that when a person finally gets control of it and their doctor calls them good then it’s a done deal and they can go back to whatever they were doing to begin with. I’ve had people tell me about friends of theirs whose doctors used the ‘c’ word and they believed it. So when things started acting up again and they’d tell their friends that it was diabetes acting up they refused to believe it because their doctor used the ‘c’ word for them, so they couldn’t be having diabetic issues.

    Diabetes is a long row to hoe and always will be. Type one and maybe other types will probably have a cure available for them long before type 2 does due to the various things that are involved in type 2.

    If looking for a pill or liquid to make it go away, forget it. Involves more than that and you’ll always have to work at it. Even when you don’t feel like it. Many times I just feel like giving up and letting run it’s course. Then I rethink and get back on the road again. And you’re right. Meds does help, helps a lot. You have to watch how much, what you eat. Does it have too many carbs, not enough carbs and list goes on. Need some kind of exercise to go hand in hand with the diet. Plus along side of the meds,not just meds alone. Pain but can be done. As you said, no cure yet and personally I don’t think that there will be in near future. I figure type 1 will have any chance of a ‘cure’ way before type 2 does. Even then how far off will their cure be?

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