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Managing Your Type 2 Diabetes

There are several things you can do to help manage type 2 diabetes:
  • Meal planning and eating correctly are key components to managing blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. To plan meals and eat right, you need to understand how different foods affect your glucose levels. A good meal plan will take into account your food preferences, goals for weight control, and daily physical activity. Healthcare professionals can work with you to create a personalized meal plan.
  • Physical activity is important in dealing with type 2 diabetes. Taking part in a regular fitness program can improve blood glucose levels in older people with type 2 diabetes. A healthcare professional can help plan a physical activity program that is right for you.
  • Medications are also central to controlling type 2 diabetes for many people. Doctors may prescribe oral medicines (those taken by mouth), insulin, or a combination of both, as needed. People with type 2 diabetes may not need to take diabetes medications if they can reach glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol goals through meal planning, eating the right foods, and physical activity.
  • Keeping track of how well your type 2 diabetes care plan is working is important. Check your blood glucose levels, and monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Eye exams. People with type 2 diabetes should have an eye exam every year. Finding and treating eye problems early can help prevent more serious conditions later on.
  • Kidney check. A yearly urine test for a protein called albumin will show whether your kidneys are affected by type 2 diabetes.
  • Foot care. Type 2 diabetes can reduce blood supply to arms and legs, and cause numbness in the feet. People with diabetes should check their feet every day and watch for any redness or patches of heat. Sores, blisters, breaks in the skin, infections, or build-up of calluses should be checked right away by a doctor specializing in diabetic foot care (a podiatrist) or a family doctor.
  • Skin care. People with type 2 diabetes can protect their skin by keeping it clean, using skin softeners to treat dryness, and taking care of minor cuts and bruises to prevent infections and other problems (see Diabetic Skin Care).
  • Care of teeth and gums. Working closely with a dentist is also important. Teeth and gums need special attention to avoid serious infections.
  • Flu shots and pneumonia vaccine. Getting a yearly flu shot and a pneumonia vaccine at least once will help keep people with type 2 diabetes healthy. If 5 years or more have passed since your last pneumonia shot, ask your doctor if you should be revaccinated.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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