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Generally there is no problem for us'ns Type IIs to give blood. They will make sure that you fill out the full form on what you're taking, and usually prod you to get your orange juice afterwards. Remember, there is no one type of Type II medication. The sulphonylureas....ranging from the older ones, to Amaryl/glimepiride (my old drug, before I went cold turkey!) and a couple of others, have one primary mechanism of action: they induce whatever pancreas islet (pronounced 'EYE-let) cells remain to pump out some more insulin. When amaryl came out, it's claim to fame at the time was that it did so over a 24-hour period....not immediately when taking the pill. (However, I can testify that it operates on its own curve over that 24 hour period...lots at some times, little at others...so even it needed to be managed).
All Type-II pills have one side effect or another. Like anything that causes insulin to be pumped out, amaryl can add some weight...not the best idea for most Type IIs, who area supposed to be doing just the opposite. In addition, over the long term, there is a legitimate question(s) about effects: since chemically forcing more insulin to be pumped out probably tends to reinforce even more insulin resistance in the body..again not desirable, since that keeps the negative feedback loop going that helps Type II diabetes get worse over time (that's why it's a 'degenerative' disease). Additionally, chemically forcing more insulin production does add to the longevity of those remaining islet cells...though no one, yet, knows how quickly it helps to shorten those lives. (Of course, once you've...eventually...lost all your islet cells, you're officially a Type I, I guess?).

Of the other Type-II pills, the most popular are the various insulin sensitizers. They help whatever insulin is there in the body, to work more like they are supposed to at the cellular level, to let glucose in to each cell to be used. These, too, have side effects: most (but not all) still can have weight gain associated with them; and most also require some form of periodic liver test to ensure no harm is being done there.

If you've let yourself go to also needing insulin to maintain control, that adds another layer of negative feedback on the body that isn't good over the long-haul; not to mention, it becomes easier to misjudge and go 'low'.

Also, diabetes research presses on. One company, Emisphere Technologies, is furthest along in making an oral insulin pill. (They specialize in trying to make injectable drugs into oral pills; knowing they can make a lot of money if they can do it). In fact, they've focused on the insulin pill as hopefully (if it gets through trials successfully) their first big 'Success story", since it's the biggest potential market of all injectable drugs.

However, we need to remind ourselves...Many (maybe even, most?) Type IIs can really get back under control with strict diet and exercise, alone...with NO side effects, other than us having to behave ourselves and stay healthy! Even Type IIs already on insulin, can get their insulin use reduced that way; and if they keep going, possibly even get off it totally. Note, though, all this depends on how far you've let yourself go: if you've been Type II for less than 5 years or something, the above statements apply; if you've been Type II for 20 years, never modified diet and exercise, have already had one heart attack, 5 eye operations, and one amputation....then getting more under control will definitely help; BUT, you've almost certainly permanently damaged enough organ tissue that getting off of meds, permanently, is probably not attainable...though you CAN reduce them, and slow down further progression (and put off other operations as long as possible).

It all depends on how far you've let yourself go, before you make an honest effort at pulling yourself back. In Type II control, 'sooner' is way, way, way much better than 'later'...since 'later'...might be too late to work at all.

Sorry for the lecture. Yes, type IIs can give blood (!!).

Cheers,

JP
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