When patients suffering from Type 2 Diabetes come into my clinic, the first question I ask them is, “What diabetes medication does your doctor have you taking?” The most common responses I get are, Metformin (or glucophage – the generic version), insulin and a statin, such as Lipitor. Metformin helps the body take in more insulin by improving insulin receptor sites on cells. Statins are designed to lower high cholesterol usually associated with Diabetes. Many patients take the route of prescription diabetes mediation, yet are unaware of the serious side effects they can cause.
When taking insulin, patients must understand its effect on the body. Insulin is inflammatory to tissue in the body, and by giving the patient more insulin changes begin to occur in the extremities. Hands and feet begin to feel tingly and numb which often leads to burning sensations in the respected areas. Generally, these symptoms are the worst at night. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you are experiencing peripheral neuropathy. Clinically, I also see that a large number of patients on Metformin experience these symptoms as well.
Peripheral neuropathy is dangerous in diabetics because it often leads to amputation of extremities due to the lack of healing that occurs when a cut or sore begins to develop. The body has a very difficult time getting blood flow to the toes and fingers in conditions like diabetes, and blood is desperately needed in order to heal tissue.
Most diabetics experience high cholesterol and are subsequently put on statins by their doctor. A common statin used is Lipitor. Statins are prescriptions that lower cholesterol in the body. Unfortunately, use of these drugs can also lead to serious side effects, this time in the brain.
Statins will lower both good and bad cholesterol – they don’t pick and chose. Bad cholesterol (LDL) poses serious health effects to the body, such as clogged arteries. Lowering this cholesterol helps keep you healthy. Good cholesterol (HDL) helps comprise neurons in the brain and cells in the body. Lowering this cholesterol puts the body at risk for serious brain related health problems.
Over 60% of the brain is made up of good cholesterol. When HDL is suppressed in the body neurons in the brain cannot adequately survive and begin to die. Most tissue and cells can repair themselves. Neurons, however, do not regenerate. Once a neuron dies, it’s gone. When enough neurons in the brain degenerate from low cholesterol, conditions such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease become present. Alzheimer’s Disease is notably referred to as Type 3 Diabetes by medical researchers because of the strong correlation that it has with unmanaged Type 2 Diabetes.
Along with neurons, nerves and cell membranes are also made up of cholesterol. Decreasing HDL puts both of these bodily components at risk. Diabetes is an inflammatory condition which inflames and destroys cells. If cells lack proper amounts of HDL, they cannot rebuild and fight off inflammation. This process causes increased and prolonged symptoms among patients.
The answer to managing Type 2 Diabetes does not lie within prescription drugs. Many harmful side effects exist surrounding medications. In many cases the side effects can lead to worsened chronic health conditions and degeneration of the body.
If you are taking medication for Type 2 Diabetes and feel your condition is becoming unmanageable, call the Tustin Chronic Condition Center at 714-731-7680.
Remember, nothing in life will change until you do!