Living with diabetes – drugs for chronic illness

I take pills for high blood pressure. Will these affect my diabetes control?

Certain medicines that may be prescribed for high blood pressure, including thiazide diuretics such as hydrochlorthiazide, and beta blockers such as propranolol, can affect your blood glucose level. You might need two or three different types of pilsl in combination to treat your high blood pressure effectively. Even if your blood pressure pilsl affect your blood glucose, you still need to take them, because reducing yoru blood pressure is just as important as lowering your blood glucose.

Is it true that steroids can affect my blood glucose?

Yes, steroid pills or injections increase your blood glucose level because they make it harder for your insulin to work effectively. Even if you are only taking steroids for a short time, you may need to increase the dose of your pills or insulin to compensate. Consult your doctor if you are unsure. Steroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation if you have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or rheumatoid arthritis. They are also used to treat chronic lung conditions, such as asthma.

My blood pressure pills affect my blood glucose level but my doctor says they are the ones I need. What can I do?

Controlling your blood pressure is as important as controlling your blood glucose level in terms of preventing the long-term complications of diabetes. If your blood pressure pills are effective, you may need to work out with your doctor what food or activity changes you can make to control your blood glucose level, or what changes in medication you need.

Going into the hospital

I am having an operation unrelated to diabetes. Should I keep up my normal diabetes routine?

If you are asked not to eat or drink anything before your operation, you may need to reduce your dose of pills or insulin before you go into the hospital – consult your doctor about this. Once you are in the hospital, the staff will probably take over your diabetes care around the time of your operation. If you have to remain in the hospital, you may be able to do your own blood glucose tests and manage your own medication.

What do a glucose drip and an insulin infusion do?

This treatment closely controls your blood glucose level when you are not able to eat properly, for example, when you are having an operation. An insulin infusion and a glucose drip are inserted into your vein – the rate at which insulin enters your bloodstream is adjusted according to your blood glucose level, which is measured every hour. As soon as you are eating properly again, the glucose drip and insulin infusion are replaced with your usual pills or insulin.

When I’m discharged from the hospital should I go back to my old diabetes routine?

During your hospital stay, changes may have been made to your diabetes medication because of the effect of your illness or operation. Before you leave the hospital, ask your doctor if your medication has changed or what the effects of the change may be. If you have been far less active in the hospital than normal and you take insulin-stimulating pills or insulin, you might be at risk of a hypoglycemic attack if you continue to take the same dose of medication when you resume your normal life at home.

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