Health & Spirit

Over- and undertreating Type 2 diabetes

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

The over/under on the Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield's passing yards for the 2019 season is 4,325.5. That's more than the oddsmakers give Super Bowl champ Tom Brady (4,170.5)! How will the season play out? Who knows! But over/under wagers are tricky, and losses can be devastating. Just ask the almost 30 million folks in America with Type 2 diabetes, many of whom are over- or undertreated.

The over: According to a study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 20% of people with Type 2 diabetes are overcontrolling their glucose levels with "intensive therapy," risking hospitalization, even death, from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). They're taking one type of medication to achieve an A1C of 5.6% or under, or taking two or more types to achieve an A1C of 5.7-6.4%.

The under: Research shows only 67-85% of oral medication doses and 60% of insulin doses are actually taken, upping the risk for neuropathy, retinopathy, and cardiovascular, kidney and digestive disease.

Betting on your health: We advocate working to reverse Type 2 diabetes using improved nutrition and regular physical activity. That can take you safely to a 5.7% A1C or lower.

If you're taking meds for "intensive therapy" and have end-stage kidney disease, three or more chronic conditions (high blood pressure, arthritis, plus diabetes, for example) or are 75+, ask your doc about setting a less-risky target for your A1C.

If you're not following your medication regimen, tell your doctor, give lifestyle changes a try, and see a diabetes educator for help managing your disease more effectively.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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