It’s getting to seem that just about every middle-aged or elderly adult has blood-sugar issues and is either pre-diabetic, a Type 2 diabetic or an insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetic. There are more than 100 million adults in the U.S. who fit in one of those categories, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

High blood sugar erodes our health and must be consistently monitored and addressed because of its connection with other serious health issues. It is a condition difficult to circumnavigate when processed and fast foods are a major part of our diets. Look at the ingredients and you are likely to find added sugar and dozens of grams of carbohydrates as well as high sodium levels, a health threat on its own, to compensate for the tastelessness of low-carb diets.

The good news is that the healthcare community in this country is well armed for this battle, and with an educated public recognizing the importance of regular visits to their family physician, we can curb the damage incurred by this disease.

Insulin: A Life Saver for Type 1 Diabetics

Among the most valuable weapons in an all-out war against Type 1 diabetes, a chronic disease, is insulin, which is usually injected. The body is unable produce insulin at this point due to a damaged pancreas disabled by the body’s own antibodies. Without the hormone insulin, the body cannot regulate blood sugar, which escalates to destructive levels. Without insulin organs, nerves and blood vessels are attacked and damaged. It is a condition that is ultimately fatal if not treated.

Type 2 diabetes is much more common and, in fact, 95 percent of diabetics fit in this category and, although a milder form than Type 1, it is regarded as a public health epidemic. Insulin therapy is a treatment for some Type 2 diabetics, but usually diet, exercise and other medications are prescribed. These are lifestyle changes where the patient can make to help control blood sugar levels and lead a normal life.  However, medication is imperative for most Type 2 patients.

There are two popular medications for diabetics, which are not meant to replace insulin the body is no longer able to produce, but to aid the pancreas because the body’s cells have become “insulin resistant.”  Metformin continues to be the commonly used medication for Type 2 diabetes.

What Does Metformin Do?

You could say that Metformin, a groundbreaking medicine which now has plenty of competition, helps lower the aforementioned insulin resistance of the body. It has been shown to be effective in working with the body in more efficient utilization of insulin. It is increasingly used in tandem with other diabetes drugs like Januvia.

Among the pluses of Metformin is that its side effects are negligible and that it has proven to be effective against cancer in some studies. It has even been shown to reduce deaths and incidence of disease in cardiovascular-related cases in a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).  Additionally, used with sulphonyl urea, it lessens the risk of cardiovascular ailments.

Then There Is the Newcomer, Victoza…

Victoza is an injectable drug that is regularly used with other diabetes medications. More recent on the market than Metformin, Victoza is a GLP-1 receptor agonist. That means it helps stimulate the production of insulin while suppressing the secretion of glucagon, which helps release glucose into the bloodstream.

Unlike Metformin there are still questions about Victoza’s side effects until there is more thorough study of this drug. One plus is that it can help you lose weight because it makes the user feel less hungry. It also seems to have a positive impact on reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease, which is good news for its users because diabetes is so closely associated with heart disease.