If you're like me, trying to remember to take all your medications can be a bit of a hassle. In particular, if you have type 2 diabetes and are taking metformin as part of your treatment plan, missing doses can lead to serious consequences! So let's talk about what happens when you miss metformin.
The Basics: What is Metformin?
For those of us who aren't experienced in the world of diabetes medications (and that would include yours truly), here's a quick rundown on what metformin actually does in our bodies:
- Metformin helps reduce the amount of glucose (sugar) produced by the liver.
- It also improves insulin sensitivity in our muscles and decreases sugar absorption by our intestines.
- Overall, this leads to better blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes.
So...you know that saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"? For type 2 diabetics on metformin, it might need to be "a pill a day keeps the high blood sugars at bay".
Now, I'm sure we've all missed a medication dose before. It happens. Life gets busy or hectic (or Netflix drops an entire season right when you needed them not too). But when it comes specifically to metformin for managing diabetes, there are some potential consequences that can occur if doses get skipped regularly:
Higher Blood Sugar Levels
Without regular intake of their prescribed dosage amounts, blood sugar levels could rise above approved thresholds.
Weight Gain/Fluid Buildup
Metabolic issues (I had no idea how interconnected everything was) can manifest themselves in different ways!! This one being fluid buildup which then results in weight gain!
Negative Impact on Kidneys & Liver Functioning
Our lovely vital organs, kidneys and liver may be negatively impacted. If you are diabetic and don't manage your blood sugar levels properly.
If an individual is also suffering from other diseases alongside diabetes, they may face increased complications if the missed doses continue.
As I'm sure you can imagine...none of these sounds particularly pleasant to deal with!
Long-term Impacts: The Dreaded Microvascular Complications
on top of all this short term risks that could arise even long term impacts makes the situation more scary!
Microvascular complications refer to damage done to small blood vessels in our bodies when blood sugars aren't managed effectively over time (think decades). Prolonged periods of high blood sugars can lead definitely cause unwanted medical issues such as.
- Diabetic retinopathy (damage to eyesight)/Loss
- Neuropathy (nerve damage, potentially leading to amputations or neuropathic pain) (BECAUSE WHO DOESN'T LOVE A LITTLE HEALTHCARE TRAUMA MENTIONED IN AN ARTICLE? YEESH)
- Nephropathy(Also known as kidney disease)
So what's the worst-case scenario here? Basically, higher chance for a stroke or heart attack due Vascular Disease.
Let's talk prevention
Diving into some practical actions we can take:
First Things first - Educate Yourself on Metformin
understand there are varying conditions at play and reason why administering yourself metformine has so many positives
Don’t Miss Doses Within Reasonable Limits As Prescribed By Your Doctor
This one seems pretty straightforward right? But sometimes life still happens; it might be helpful setting up regular alarms / reminders.
Should you ever come across moments where swallowing pills become too large feats,
let your doctor know ASAP They should work with on switching treatments
- At times, Change in administration (Tablet/Metformin extended release) might be a solution.
A Friendly Reminder To Refill early
Sometimes things like a vacation or sudden emergency could put us at risk of missing dosage. Therefore it might be helpful refilling Metformine before running out completely to have extra stock around when such events occur!
Monitor with doctor regularly
Check up occasionaly would also help asses the genuine need for metformin and work alongside your healthcare provider on reducing dosages over time as our eating habits get modified.
There you have it folks! The risks of missed doses where metformin is concerned are nothing to sneeze at, however there are practical steps we can take. Remember to educate yourself on your diabetes management plan, utilise alarms/ reminders apps /services are largely available these days; definitely refilling ahead of time incase travel situations that may arise without us being prepared etc., but if you ever do miss one? Don't stress too much especially if doesn't happen repetitively (but overall babying oneself is never an awful idea when crucial medications come into play). Reach out to the medical professionals looking after you and get back on track ASAP!
Until next time...stay vigilant about those meds!