Type 2 Diabetes
Reviewed by Nicholas Yozamp, MD, Washington University in St. Louis
Type 2 diabetes can affect your daily routine as you learn to check your blood glucose levels regularly, incorporate new foods into your diet, and keep up your physical activity. These changes might sound daunting, but many Caretalk community members have shared stories and advice to help.
Getting a new diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming, but the Caretalk community is here to support you. As a first step, clinicians recommend eating nutritious foods and starting physical activity. Sometimes, they also prescribe medications. These aim to lower the amount of sugar in your blood. You might also keep track of your blood sugars with devices. Explore the articles below to learn more, and don't hesitate to reach out to the community with questions!
Type 2 diabetes affects each person's life differently: from quitting smoking to learning to inject insulin, to purchasing a gym membership, no one path to controlling type 2 diabetes is the same. However, there are a few useful places to start. Eating more fruits and vegetables, while excluding processed foods and drinks with added sugar will help lower your blood sugar levels. Developing methods to manage your stress can have beneficial effects. Doctors may also recommend that you put aside time each day to be active and to take your medications. Understanding the relationship between each day-to-day life change and your own blood sugar levels will help you discover what changes will be most helpful and doable for you.
Each person's journey with Type 2 Diabetes is unique -- from the initial feelings of receiving a diagnosis, to learning how to monitor blood sugar levels, to making diet and exercise changes, to adapting to new changes in their body. On Caretalk, you can share in the hope, inspiration, and struggles of other people experiencing Type 2 Diabetes.
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We are an open, medically-reviewed community of doctors, researchers, clinicians, patients, advocates, caregivers, and family members who share knowledge to improve health and research in Type 2 Diabetes.
Food & Diet
Eating a nutritious, balanced diet and moderating the amount of food you eat are very helpful in controlling your diabetes. The NIH recommends vegetables, fruit, whole grains, protein, and dairy (low or fat-free). Foods containing lots of salt, saturated fat, trans fat, and too many carbohydrats (carbs) should be avoided. Get recipes, tricks, advice, and nutritional information here.
Exercise is key to your treatment plan: it decreases blood sugar levels and lowers your chances of developing another condition like as cardiovascular disease. The American Diabetes Association recommends cardiovascularly challenging exercise 30 minutes per day for 5 days/week and strength exercises 2 days/week. Before starting, consult with your doctor to formulate a plan for you.
Managing Your Blood Sugar Levels
High blood glucose levels can be controlled with diet, exercise, and medications. In many cases, doctors suggest that people use blood glucose meters or monitors. These devices provide patients with immediate feedback on how well their lifestyle changes and medications are working. Your doctor will tell you what time of day and how often to check your blood sugar levels, and may also measure your A1C levels every few months in order to understand trends in your blood sugar levels over extended periods of time.
Patients with diabetes are more likely to also be diagnosed with condition such as heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, and neuropathy. However, the proportion of diabetes patients with related complications has decreased over the past 20 years, and adherence to the same lifestyle changes that treat type 2 diabetes can decrease your own chances of a second diagnosis. Read more about changes you can make today to lower your risk of complications, and how to deal with existing complications.
Emotional struggles can arise from the demands of type 2 diabetes. Depression, anxiety, and eating disorders are more common in diabetes patients than in the broader US population. It is also estimated that one-half to three-quarters of diabetes patients who meet criteria for depression are never diagnosed with depression by a doctor. If you are experiencing symptoms of mental health disorders, you are not alone in these struggles, nor are these struggles unbeatable.
Stats & Facts
Have you ever wondered how the cost of diabetes has changed over time, or how many people get diabetes each year? Find out the answers to these questions and view more facts and figures about type 2 diabetes below!