Diabetes is a complex and chronic medical condition characterized by the body's inability to manage blood sugar levels due to a lack of insulin production in the body (type 1 diabetes) or the ability to use it as well as it should (type 2 diabetes).

Type 2 diabetes is the most common variant, affecting over 90% of people with diabetes in the United States. People with type 2 diabetes often have cells that are resistant to insulin, making it difficult for their bodies to use sugar for energy. When this happens, the pancreas will struggle to produce sufficient insulin to regulate sugar levels, leading to complications like neuropathy, nephropathy, and cardiovascular disease.

The question now is, how do we manage type 2 diabetes to delay or prevent these complications? Let's dive into some of the facts.

Key Facts

  • Type 2 diabetes can be managed through medications or lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, managing stress, maintaining a moderate weight, engaging in regular exercise, and following a balanced diet to keep blood sugar levels in check.
  • If these dietary and lifestyle adjustments are insufficient, your doctor may recommend medications to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Your doctor will most likely consider your age at diagnosis before prescribing medication for managing type 2 diabetes. The reason is that while older adults with the condition often have slightly higher blood sugar levels without significant issues, medications may be prescribed to those diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 50.
  • Even minor increases in blood sugar can lead to long-term health complications like neuropathy and nephropathy. The goal of medication is to delay or prevent the adverse effects of diabetes.

Tips for Managing Your Type 2 Diabetes

Every case of type 2 diabetes presents differently, and your symptoms might be different from somebody else's. Hence, getting professional medical advice to manage the condition is vital.

Dealing with type 2 diabetes requires a comprehensive approach that includes lifestyle changes, medication, and regular monitoring. Here are five common tips to help you manage type 2 diabetes effectively.

1. Don't Forget to Take Your Medications

Metformin is the most common medication for managing type 2 diabetes. If your doctor has prescribed metformin, it's important not to miss any tablets. Your doctor will have given you advice on how often to take your medications, and it's essential to follow them accurately.

Metformin lowers the amount of glucose made in your liver, helping to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range. If you forget to take your medications, your blood sugar level can increase, which may lead to preventable complications.

Contact your doctor immediately if you are unsure how to take your medications or when. Similarly, if you regularly experience unwanted side effects from your medication, speak to a healthcare professional.

Patients in the US can buy insulin online from a Canadian pharmacy to save up to 80% on diabetes medication.

2. Monitor Your Glucose Levels

There are wearable devices to get constant feedback from your body about your blood glucose levels. They are called "continuous glucose monitors" and are attached to the back of your arm. These devices take regular measurements of the sugar in your blood to stay well-informed about low or high blood sugar levels.

You can use these devices to see how different foods affect your blood sugar levels and adjust your diet accordingly. If your blood glucose goes well above the healthy or normal threshold, you can also take quick action. There are also smartwatches for diabetics that connect to your CGM and help you monitor your blood glucose levels.

3. Eat Healthy Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates significantly impact blood sugar levels compared to the other two macronutrients, proteins and fats. So, monitoring carbohydrate consumption is critical to managing diabetes. 

Ideally, you should consume complex carbohydrates. Most complex carbohydrates have a low glycemic index, meaning the constituent sugars are released more slowly into the blood and provide long-lasting energy.

Low-glycemic-index foods do not result in high blood sugar or insulin spikes, making it easier to maintain a healthy glucose level in your bloodstream. Some great low-glycemic-index carbohydrates include oats, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, and buckwheat. You can also find healthy carbohydrates in milk, yogurt, legumes, and beans.

4. Exercise Daily

Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain or grow new skeletal muscle mass. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance (i.e., low insulin sensitivity). By increasing the muscle in your body as a diabetic, you can improve insulin sensitivity and manage your condition more effectively.

Exercise can also improve cardiovascular function, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. As you exercise, glucose stores are mobilized, fueling your muscles and tissues. As a result, you are less likely to have excessively high blood sugar levels.

The recommended amount of exercise for the average adult is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity movement a week. Depending on your preferences, you can split this into multiple 10-minute or five 30-minute sessions weekly.

5. Control Your Weight

Excess body weight can lower your insulin sensitivity and worsen your Type 2 diabetes. Studies show that decreasing the amount of body fat you have can reduce your blood sugar levels in the long term and lower your risk of cardiovascular complications.

Even losing 5% of your body weight can seriously benefit your health. Losing significant body fat can reduce the need for medications and put diabetes into remission.

Conclusion

Maintaining a healthy weight, eating complex carbohydrates, monitoring glucose levels with a blood glucose meter, and exercising daily are all important ways to manage type 2 diabetes. If you struggle to control your blood sugar levels with diet and exercise alone, speak to a healthcare professional about medication options.

Sources

At Diabetic Me, we are committed to delivering information that is precise, accurate, and pertinent. Our articles are supported by verified data from research papers, prestigious organizations, academic institutions, and medical associations to guarantee the integrity and relevance of the information we provide. You can learn more about our process and team on the about us page.

  1. PubMed Epidemiology of Type 2 Diabetes
  2. PubMed The importance of weight management in type 2 diabetes mellitus
  3. AAEC Type 2 Diabetes

3 Comments

  1. Pharmaserve on February 17, 2023

    Great tips for managing type 2 diabetes! It’s essential to take care of your health and manage your diabetes effectively. For more insights and information on diabetes medication, including metformin, insulin, and other diabetes-related products, you can visit our website at Pharmaserve.com. Our team of experts can help you find the right medication, answer your questions, and offer guidance on managing your condition. Thank you for sharing these valuable tips!

    Reply
  2. Ely on September 19, 2022

    Hi there. Did your doctor gave you some background information on the drug or any comfort talk? If not I would suggest you talk to your doctor and tell him you feel a bit lost and ask the question you have. If that doesn’t work you might want to reach out to some people.

    Reply
  3. Barbara on September 14, 2022

    Thank you for this article. I was recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes. My doctor prescribed Atorvastatin and that was it. No discussion. Nothing. Feeling a bit lost.

    Reply

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About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville, and I am the founder of Diabetic Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996, I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

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