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Want to Get Off Diabetes Medication? Here Are Your First Steps

Having diabetes means you must take steps to balance your blood sugar (glucose) within a safe range. Consistently high glucose compromises the tissues throughout your body and can lead to a wide range of complications including neuropathy, kidney problems, and gum disease. 

A hormone called insulin naturally keeps your blood glucose levels in check to prevent these complications, but if you have diabetes, the hormone is either not present or ineffective at doing its job. 

Of the millions of people in the United States with diabetes, over 90% have type 2. Those with type 1 must take insulin to manage their diabetes since they produce little to no insulin naturally. For those with type 2, daily insulin may not be necessary for lowering blood glucose. 

Insulin isn’t the only medication prescribed for diabetes management. Other medications lower your blood sugar in other ways. Some lower blood sugar by breaking down specific carbohydrates in your intestines while others prevent GLP-1, a hormone that increases insulin to control blood sugar, from breaking down too quickly. 

Many people with diabetes benefit from taking medications to control their blood sugar and prevent complications. Some can manage their blood sugar in other, more natural ways. If you currently take diabetes medication, you may not need to continue its use forever. 

As board-certified family physicians, Clifton Etienne, MD, Michael Cavanagh, MD, and Flora Brewington, MD, are highly experienced with personalized diabetes management. We can help you set and reach your goals within your diabetes care plan at Westmed Family Healthcare in Westminster, Colorado. 

If you want to get off diabetes medication, we can help you do so. Here are some of the first steps you should take: 

1. Watch your carb intake

Carbohydrates are a type of macronutrient your body uses as fuel, but not all carbs are the same. There are simple carbs and complex carbs. When we say you should lower your carb intake, we mean to reduce the number of simple carbs you consume. 

Complex carbs like whole grains and legumes contain fiber, help with digestion, stabilize your blood sugar, and boost your energy. Simple carbs, on the other hand, cause your blood sugar to spike and then drop. They’re not very satiating, so it’s easy to get into a cycle of eating a lot of them and soon reaching for more. 

If you’d like to eventually get off your diabetes medication, minimize your consumption of simple carbohydrates like:

While not all alcoholic beverages contain carbs, you should also aim to drink only in moderation. More than three alcoholic beverages a day can increase your blood glucose. 

2. Get more exercise

Exercise of any kind has a positive impact on your blood sugar. Even a brisk walk can lower your blood sugar to safer levels right away. More strenuous exercises, like weight training or interval training, lower your blood sugar immediately and for the long term. 

You can talk to your provider at Westmed Family Healthcare about starting a new exercise routine for diabetes management. 

3. Stop using tobacco in any form

Tobacco use and diabetes don’t mix. If you’d like to get off diabetes medication, one of your first steps should be smoking cessation. Smoking and other tobacco use makes diabetes more difficult to manage and increases your risk for heart disease, kidney disease, and other diabetes complications. 

4. Maintain a moderate weight

Reducing your carb intake and exercising more often can help you manage your weight, which is a critical step for managing your diabetes. You don’t have to follow some fad diet to lose weight. Simply eat plenty of protein to feel full and control your portion sizes. 

We can help you determine an appropriate calorie range to meet your needs.

5. See your doctor for support

When it comes to diabetes management, support leads to better outcomes. Your provider can teach you the best ways to manage your diabetes and determine the best time, if any, to stop taking diabetes medications. We can also hold you accountable and help you stick with your new healthy habits. 

Call Westmed Family Healthcare today to book an appointment or schedule one online anytime.

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