Diabetes Handbook Online

Taking tablets: 'mature-onset' diabetics

The more fortunate diabetics are the older 'matureonset' type as it is sometimes called; this can include 50-year-old and upwards. More often than not their disorder has been slow in beginning, or it might have even been discovered by accident as part of a routine medical examination for a change of job r life assurance. Probably overweight initially, they are more often examples of the dietary overload effect than are the younger persons who less fortunately develop diabetes more quickly and dramatically and, as a consequence, need to start on insulin. The maturity-onset diabetes more quickly dramatically and, as a consequence, need to start on insulin, The maturity-onset diabetic may only need tablets. There are many kinds of these chlorpropamide, glibenclamide, glicazide, acetohexamide, glipizide, metformin and phenformin are just some of the chemical names of the ones currently available but they are all, interestingly, developments of an accidental discovery.

In the early international search for antibiotics in the 1940s and 1950s, a group of drugs known as the sulphonylureas were investigated; as anti-bacterial agents they were not very effective, but they were found to apparently lower the blood sugar in whomever they were given. Subsequently it was realized that they were a special discover. They were not, however, insulin of its own, acting thus as a stimulant, and they did seem to have some special effect,as yet unidentified, that reduced the blood sugar as well; perhaps, it has been suggested, they neutralized the insulin antagonist, but this is not proven. Disappointingly, they did not prevent diabetes developing, nor were they of any value in the treatment of the younger or the severe diabetic.

Because the majority of older patients with diabetes do not need insulin control their with diabetes do not need insulin to control their disorder, while the majority of the 'maturity-onset' patient, therefore, will not need hospital admission in most cases, and the tailoring of the dosage of their tablets to their needs will, in all probability, be done at home by their family doctor. This may take a week or two and successive blood tests as well as regular urine tests will be carried out. Normally, morning and evening doses of the tablet will be commenced with extra ones taken at mealtimes, but some only once-a-day medication.Occasionally doctors prescribe combination of tablets to be taken together in order to achieve the most beneficial effects. Regular surveillance, routine testing of urine and blood and weight measurement are, however, just as necessary for the table-taker as for the insulin-user.


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