Diabetes medicine smarts

Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, July 8, 2013 at 1:16 p.m.

Q: I've just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and I'm confused about the treatment options. Can you explain?

— Marianne S., Brownsville, Texas

A: We're sorry you were diagnosed, but glad you're aware of it, since it's estimated that more than 7 million Americans with type 2 don't know they have the condition, and therefore don't have the chance that you now have to avoid complications.

First, it's important to follow your doctor's advice. Oral diabetes medications are generally prescribed — about 58 percent of folks with type 2 use them — and metformin is usually the first choice. You may add insulin for better glucose control or, if your weight is heading up instead of down, your doctor may talk to you about adding one of the drugs that increase insulin secretion, such as exenatide (Byetta) or sitagliptin (Januvia). However, recent information indicates that these two may increase your risk for pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. The Food and Drug Administration is investigating, so talk to your doctor about their risks and benefits.

But our goal is to help you be part of the 16 percent of folks with type 2 who don't take medication or even to see you get rid of your diagnosis altogether, by showing you how to control glucose levels through diet, exercise and stress management. Try these steps:

Step One: Get steppin'. After every meal (three times a day), go for a 15-minute stroll around the block or the parking lot at work. That's a way to keep blood sugar from spiking in the hour after you eat. It's also protective for anyone who's pre-diabetic.

Step Two: Step it up. You're heading for a walking routine that totals 10,000 steps a day. For info on how to build up to that, go to Sharecare.com.

Step Three: Cool it. Meditation for 12 minutes a day can reduce stress and help you stay with your new healthy routine. Again, see Sharecare.com for instructions.

Step Four: Get cookin'. Your mantra: Avoid the Five Food Felons (added sugars and sugar syrups, any grain that isn't 100 percent whole, and saturated and trans fats) as if they were poison. They are for you!

Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at youdocsdaily@sharecare.com.

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