DENVER (CBS4) – Doctors are touting a couple of new classes of drugs to treat Type 2 diabetes. In the last few years drugs have come on the market that attack the disease in new ways.
“We’ve had a real explosion of medications,” said Dr. Michael McDermott, Director of the Endocrinology Department at University of Colorado Hospital.
One group of drugs is injectable and lowers glucose levels by stimulating the body to make more insulin. But it also suppresses appetite, so the patient feels full sooner, and it slows down stomach emptying so that food stays in the stomach longer.
Another category of medications came out in the last year and works on the kidneys. Those medications inhibit the protein that allows the body to hold on to glucose, so that people lose glucose in their urine.
“It’s completely different, and we’re very pleased that there’s a new mechanism that helps us lower glucose,” McDermott told CBS4.
McDermott calls it an exciting time in diabetes care, although he’s quick to point out that a healthy diet and increased exercise are the bedrocks of care for Type 2 diabetes.
Refugio “Fugi” Silva has struggled with Type 2 diabetes his entire adult life.
“I was active, but still because of the insulin I just kept gaining weight, and gaining weight, and gaining more weight,” he told CBS4.
Silva went on two of the new medications last year, and so far he’s lost more than 50 pounds and his sugar levels are evening out.
“I feel like a new person. Another chance has been given to me and I’m taking full advantage of it,” Silva said.
Millions of Americans have diabetes and don’t know it yet. The American Diabetes Association sponsors Alert Day as a wake-up call to the public to know your risk for the disease. You can take a simple interactive Risk Test online as a first step to knowing if you might develop diabetes. The questions focus on family history, ethnicity, and lifestyle. At the end, you’re given a risk score on a scale of 1-to-10 and tips for lowering your risk factors. Diabetes Alert Day is Tuesday, March 24th.
LINK: The Diabetes Risk Test
Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.