Type 2 Diabetes
Living With Type 2 Diabetes
Making healthy choices
Making healthy choices is a big part of managing type 2 diabetes. The more you learn about the disease, the more motivated you may be to make good choices and follow your treatment plan.
Eat healthy foods
Eat a balanced diet, and try to manage the amount of Reference carbohydrate Opens New Window you eat by spreading it out over the day.
- Reference Reference Diabetes: Counting Carbs if You Don't Use Insulin
- Reference Reference Diabetes: Using a Plate Format for Eating
- Reference Reference Diabetes: Coping With Your Feelings About Your Diet
- Reference Quick Tips: Smart Snacking When You Have Diabetes
The Reference dietary guidelines for good health can help everyone form healthy eating habits, including people who have type 2 diabetes. It is especially important for people with type 2 diabetes to:
- Shift from eating unhealthy saturated Reference fats to eating healthier unsaturated fats.
- Avoid foods that contain Reference trans fat Opens New Window.
- Eat less Reference salt Opens New Window.
- Be careful with Reference alcohol, which affects your blood sugar. It can make problems from nerve damage, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight even worse. Adult women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day with a meal. Adult men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day with a meal. And women who are pregnant should not drink at all.
You don't have to join a gym to get fit or be active. There are many things you can do, such as walking or even vacuuming.
- Reference Reference Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life
- Reference Reference Fitness: Walking for Wellness
- Reference Quick Tips: Getting Active at Home
Test your blood sugar
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you keep your blood sugar levels at:Reference 1
- 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) to 130 mg/dL before meals, when using a Reference home blood sugar test. If you are pregnant, aim for a blood sugar level from 60 mg/dL to 99 mg/dL.
- Less than 180 mg/dL 1 to 2 hours after meals, using the home blood sugar test. If you are pregnant, aim for 100 mg/dL to 129 mg/dL for your highest blood sugar level 1 to 2 hours after meals.
A Reference continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, reports on your blood sugar at least every 5 minutes, day and night. And it sounds an alarm if it sees that your levels are headed out of range.
Having a record of your blood sugar over time can help you and your doctor know how well your treatment is working and whether you need to make any changes.
- Home Blood Sugar Diary (What is a Reference PDF Opens New Window document?)
- High Blood Sugar Record Level (What is a Reference PDF Opens New Window document?)
Take medicines, if you need them
If you're taking type 2 diabetes medicine or insulin, you will need to know how to deal with low blood sugar and how to give yourself an insulin shot.
- Reference Reference Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar From Insulin
- Reference Reference Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar From Medicines
- Reference Reference Diabetes: Giving Yourself an Insulin Shot
Check your feet and skin daily
Check your feet and skin every day for signs of problems. Nerve damage makes it hard to feel an injury or infection.
- Reference Reference Diabetes: Taking Care of Your Feet
- Reference Checklist for Daily Foot Exams
- Reference Care of Your Skin When You Have Diabetes
Living and coping
Trying to manage your type 2 diabetes isn't easy. Some days you may feel like it's just too much work to do everything you need to do. There will be times when you just don't feel like testing and tracking your blood sugar.
It's normal to feel sad or even angry sometimes when you have a health problem. Even though you've had a while to get used to the idea of having type 2 diabetes, you may still have trouble adjusting. You may find it hard to Reference stay motivated.
When you feel sad, give yourself time to Reference grieve your losses. If you feel overwhelmed, just try to focus on one day at a time. Do the best you can. You don't have to be perfect.
Get the support you need
If you're having trouble coping with your feelings, try talking with a Reference counselor Opens New Window. A professional may make it easier to say things you wouldn't talk about with friends or family.
If you have symptoms of depression, such as a lack of interest in things you used to enjoy, a lack of energy, or trouble sleeping, talk with your doctor. For more help, see the topic Reference Depression.
You might also want to:
- Talk with friends and family about how you feel and any help you need.
- Ask a friend or family member to come to counseling with you.
- Talk to your spiritual adviser if you belong to a church or spiritual group. He or she will have experience helping people deal with their feelings.
- Join a support group. You can find one through your doctor, your local hospital, or the American Diabetes Association.
One Man's Story:
As a grocery manager, Andy is on his feet all day. He also likes to bowl and play basketball with his buddies. He started thinking about what he would do if he couldn't walk, work, or play. "It finally just hit me how serious this disease is. I couldn't keep ignoring it."—Andy
Taking care of yourself in other ways
Be aware of other things you can do to help yourself stay healthy.
- Wear medical identification at all times. You can buy medical identification such as Reference bracelets Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window, necklaces, or other kinds of jewelry at your local drugstore.
- Reference Be careful when you are driving. For example, wear a medical ID bracelet and have quick-sugar foods with you.
- Be prepared so that you can Reference prevent problems while you are traveling. You can do things to be prepared, such as taking extra medical supplies with you.
- Get a Reference flu Opens New Window vaccine every year. When you have the flu, it can be harder to manage your blood sugar. It's a good idea to get a Reference pneumococcal vaccine Opens New Window and a Reference hepatitis B Opens New Window vaccine too. You may only need these vaccines once.
- Use vision aids if you have trouble with your eyesight.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference December 28, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Jennifer Hone, MD - Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism