Though many people nowadays take sulfonylureas, not many are aware of the effects that they have on the body. Sulfonylureas are anti-diabetic drugs that help in controlling the blood sugar levels in the case of diabetes mellitus. Mostly, they are offered along some other drugs, such as thiazolidinedione or metformin, which work together to manage the glucose level in the blood. You can find them marketed under various brand names such as Glucotrol, Amaryl and Diabenese.
The enzyme that is in charge of controlling blood sugar level is insulin. It is produced by beta cells contained in the pancreas. Insulin allows sugars that are in the blood to be absorbed by active cells so that they can metabolize it and get the required energy. In the case of diabetes mellitus, there is low insulin production. The glucose remains suspended in the blood, where it causes tissue inflammation and fluid loss. As this goes on, eye damage, heart disease and nerve disorders start to come about.
When one introduces sulfonylureas to the system, there is an increase in calcium in the beta cells of the pancreas. The calcium concentration makes the beta cells release more insulin. There are many sulfonylureas drugs that you can get. They range from the ones that have a short term effect that need to be used multiple times a day to those that have a higher power and one needs only use once a day. However, these drugs are not really effective on their own and need to be used in conjunction with a good diet and plenty of exercise.
Side Effects of Sulfonylureas
Since it boosts the intake of sugar by the cells, the blood sugar may be significantly reduced, a condition known as hypoglycemia. The most common characteristic of hypoglycemia are fatigue, where one lacks the strength to carry out even simple activities. Some of the other symptoms are frequent passing of urine, frequent thirst and rapid night sweats. The hypoglycemia is usually accompanied by a considerable weight gain because of the high uptake of sugar by the cells.
If you find that you are getting frequent headaches or stomach upsets there is no need to panic; it is a normal side effect. However, if the intensity of the headaches increases to resemble migraines, you need to see a doctor and get specialized attention, since it might be a sign of an underlying disease. Also, if the stomach upsets are common, you can get some drugs to help.
There has not been much research on the effect that it has on unborn babies. This is why one is urged to keep away from them if at all they are planning to fall pregnant women who are diabetic take insulin shots, or find some other options to help boost the insulin uptake by the cells.
Other people who should keep away from using sulfonylureas are those who have a history of kidney or liver disease the reason behind this is that these disorders may make the hypoglycemia even worse. If you fall in such a category, you can visit your doctor and have them give you other options.