I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Sanofi to write about the realities of diabetes as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at 21 years old, I was a “do as I’m told” patient and was not a member of my care team the way I am now. In the 20+ years since my diagnosis, I’ve replaced my passive approach with an assertive one, replacing my diabetes denial with advocacy. I believe medical care should be a partnership and a two-sided discussion. So many times, in my own care, I felt I was being talked AT, instead of talked WITH. I settled for that type of relationship for a long time until I found my own voice, and then I shopped around for a team of health care professionals who would listen to it. That’s why I’ve chosen to partner with Med-IQ, whose goal is to help generate awareness around type 2 diabetes and how to advocate for your own treatment course with your healthcare team. Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals.
The Reality in Numbers
More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it. On top of that, more than 88 million adults in the US have prediabetes, and more than 84% of them are unaware.
There are so many treatment options for a person newly diagnosed with diabetes, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Take a look at these results from a national survey conducted by Med-IQ over the summer:
25% of respondents did not start taking medicines to help control their blood sugar levels within 3 months of diagnosis.
The majority of respondents take at least two medications daily with almost 17% taking 3 or more medications.
The survey showed that 74% of people with diabetes were not taking insulin and the main reason they are not taking insulin was because their doctor never mentioned it to them. (It’s so important to discuss all treatment options with your doctor, so be sure to attend appointments armed with a list of questions.)
When MED-IQ asked people with diabetes what their biggest concern was about combination injectable treatment, 29% said they need to learn more about it.
Only 31% of the people with diabetes or caregivers of someone with diabetes said they had a diabetes care team. Hear me when I say this…You DO NOT and SHOULD NOT be on your own. There is a lot of help out there so please take the time to build your team.
The Importance of Diabetes Self-Care
In the early years after my diagnosis, I didn’t really understand what the fuss was all about. I didn’t FEEL sick. I didn’t LOOK sick. Why should I take medication? Change my lifestyle? Stress about numbers?
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Different body parts can cause blood sugars to rise in different ways, including the pancreas, gut, fat cells, kidneys, muscles, brains, nerves, and liver. Keeping blood glucose at target levels can help people with diabetes live long and healthy lives! (YES PLEASE!) Because so many parts of the body play a role in type 2 diabetes, a variety of health problems can arise if blood sugars stay above the target range for a long period of time. Our heart, kidneys, nerves, eyes, and feet can all be affected by high blood glucose levels.
Treatments Available for Type 2 Diabetes
The good news? People with type 2 diabetes can manage their blood glucose levels with healthy lifestyle changes and medicines. Lifestyle changes include implementing and following a sound nutrition plan, increasing physical activity, self-management education and support, counseling programs to help people stop smoking, and seeking psychological support.
What is Fixed-Ratio Combination Injectable Therapy?
Fixed-ratio combination injectable therapy includes two different treatments for diabetes: insulin and glucagon-like peptide 1, or GLP-1 for short. These two types of medicines work together to lower glucose levels in the blood.
The insulin allows glucose to leave the blood and enter the cells especially between meals and overnight.
The GLP-1 receptor agonists help lower blood glucose levels after a meal and they also slow the movement of food from your stomach (you may have heard this referred to as delayed gastric emptying) and can help prevent weight gain.
Why Consider a Fixed-Ratio Combination Injectable Therapy?
With any treatment plan, there are advantages and disadvantages depending on what we bring to the table as patients. We all have “baggage” in terms of our other chronic conditions, our lifestyle, willingness to stick with protocol, and other factors that weigh in on changes to our medications.
A fixed-ratio combination injectable can make treatment easier with only one daily injection needed. It can also help you reach your blood glucose goals by targeting many different pathways involved in diabetes management. Less glucose monitoring may be needed than with some other medicines on the market, and there is lower risk of weight gain and low blood sugars. By combining insulin therapy with the GLP-1 receptor agonists into one treatment, it lessens the side effects of the individual treatment- like weight gain from the insulin and/or gastrointestinal issues from the GLP-1 receptor agonists.
If you’re struggling to manage your glucose levels on your current regimen, or you’re already taking these medications separately, you may find it beneficial to try the combination therapy.
What are Possible Side Effects?
Your healthcare provider or diabetes care and education specialist will discuss possible side effects with you.
Some people with other medical conditions in addition to type 2 diabetes may not be able to take treatments with GLP-1 receptor agonists. Make sure to tell your healthcare provider or diabetes care and education specialist about all other medical conditions and any medicines that you take.
What are the currently available fix-ratio combination injectable therapies?
iDegLira is a titratable fixed-ratio combination containing insulin degludec (100 U/mL) and liraglutide (3.6 mg/mL).
iGlarLixi is a titratable fixed-ratio combination containing insulin glargine (100 U/mL) and lixisenatide (33 µg/mL).
Patients who received fixed-ratio combination injectable therapy as compared with either drug alone, lowered their blood glucose more, with less weight gain and no increase in risk of hypoglycemia.
You are the Expert on your Own Life
Remember, the goal is progress, not perfection. As we navigate our diagnosis, we learn new things about ourselves and our bodies all the time. You know what’s working and what isn’t. Use your voice. Share your knowledge. Be your own advocate. Your diabetes care team will appreciate your active participation in your treatment.
Click here to take the survey—> https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/5977583/Sugar-Mama-Strong
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with diabetes and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative.