To help you better manage your diabetes and heart health, your doctor may prescribe medication. A solid medication regimen, in combination with a healthy diet and exercise, can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
How Medication Helps
Your doctor may prescribe a combination of medications to lower your blood glucose and reduce cardiovascular risk. This may be based on your medical history.
They might prescribe medication to:
- Manage blood glucose
- Manage high blood pressure
- Manage high cholesterol
- Manage your risk for heart and kidney complications
- Stop blood clots
Your prescription may take the form of a pill, injection, or in the case of regular insulin, a wearable pump.
Sticking to your medication and treatment plan can prevent diabetes from progressing and cardiovascular disease.
A Prescription for Success
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your medications at first. Building an effective routine will help you get it all under control.
Here’s how you can make your medications work for you:
- Keep a list of everything you’re currently taking (including herbs, vitamins and OTC’s) with our medicine chart, so you can review it with your doctor at each appointment.
- Fill your prescriptions as soon as you get them, and if possible, set them up for automatic refills.
- Talk to your doctor about the best timing for each of your prescriptions and what to do if you miss a dose.
- When possible, add medication to routine things you already do each day – like having breakfast, brushing your teeth or going to bed.
- Divvy up your pill-based meds into a daily medication dispenser.
- Set calendar reminders (to take your meds or refill them) so you can stay on track.
- Ask your doctor which meds you can group together based on their efficacy and interactions.
- Note any side effects or concerns you have and discuss them with your care team, so you can make adjustments and find the best solution.
- Ask someone you care about to be your accountability buddy. A simple check-in now and then can go a long way!
The Right Plan, The Best Support
If you have diabetes, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times. But when it comes to your health, remember that you’re in the driver’s seat. You’re very capable of building a healthier life – and you can make changes today that can have a positive impact on your body and your future. In addition to taking your meds, you are on the way to reducing your cardiovascular (CVD) risk.
Here are some things to consider to get started:
- At your next appointment, ask your doctor about how to manage your risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Ask your doctor for a referral to recognized diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) services (this is often covered by insurance).
- Keep your blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure in target ranges.
- Eat smart with a healthy, balanced diet.
- Move more with daily exercise. The goal is 150 active minutes per week.
- Take your medications as prescribed. Talk to your doctor if you have side effects that impact you.
- Get your specialists, like the cardiologist and endocrinologist, on the same page.
- Ask your doctor if your diabetes is affecting your kidney function.
- Stay positive! Scientists are making exciting new discoveries every day that will lead to a brighter future for patients who have diabetes and/or heart disease.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that everyone’s health journey is different, especially with type 2 diabetes. You may have some days where it feels like it’s more difficult to manage or some days where it’s easier. But your efforts do make a difference! Ultimately, what matters is making progress toward your goals.
No matter how you get there, it’s important to stick to the plan as prescribed by your doctor. Your daily medication routine can have a big impact on your blood glucose levels, cardiovascular risks and your overall health. Remember, you’re not in this alone. Want regular updates to guide you on how to best manage your heart health? Register at knowdiabetesbyheart.org/join.