Is Your Diabetes Being Over Treated?
It is an unfortunate reality that diabetes often comes along with a host of other complications. But for some, the complications that harm their bodies and even land them in the hospital could be prevented.
In fact, a recent study from the Mayo Clinic found that nearly 20 percent of type 2 diabetics undergo aggressive treatments that might actually be hurting more than helping.
The Dangers of Too Much Medication
Dr. Rozalina McCoy and her colleagues cautioned about the dangers of over treating type 2 diabetes in their report. “Our goal in managing diabetes is to really get people’s blood sugar into a safe, normal range. Which means not too high—but it also means not be too low,” said McCoy. Too many diabetes medications, she warned, can lower blood sugar too much and lead to serious complications, from hypoglycemia to seizures and diabetic coma.
Yet despite the health risks, physicians are having a difficult time finding the right treatment levels for their patients. Another study from the University of Michigan showed that, when a patient's A1C was below 6 (experts, aim for a diabetic's A1C to be between 7 and 7.5), doctors only decrease the person's medication 1/3 of time. The choice to peruse aggressive treatment seems like a proactive approach at first, particularly given the enormous number of diabetes cases worldwide, but as these and other studies prove, the ends may not justify the means.
Am I Being Overtreated?
How do you know if your doctor is over treating your diabetes? There are a few red flags you can watch for, which may help you find the right balance of medication and lifestyle changes to treat your diabetes properly:
Your A1C is always below 7. As we mentioned, the medical community suggests that a type 2 diabetic have an A1C between 7 and 7.5. If yours is routinely lower, it may mean that an excess or medication is dropping your blood sugar to below-optimal levels.
You've suffered hypoglycemia before. As we mentioned, over treating your diabetes can result in blood sugar that's fallen far too low. If you've had episodes of hypoglycemia, particularly ones that have landed you in the hospital, you might want to discuss your treatment options with your doctor. It's possible that you could benefit from a less aggressive treatment plan.
You have a complicated medical history, or you're in your later years. Oftentimes, doctors focus on diabetes treatment first and foremost, because of the many health problems this condition can lead to. However, if you are advanced in age, or you are suffering from more than one condition, aggressive diabetes treatment could be detrimental to and already fragile immune system. For example, some diabetes medications are not meant for senior citizens at all, but these pills are effective for younger patients. As a result, they often get prescribed without a second thought – a potentially dangerous decision.
If you notice any of these issues in your diabetes treatment, please do not hesitate to speak with your doctor or endocrinologist. When it comes to managing a condition like type 2 diabetes, communication with your medical support team is the key.