While there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, there are many treatments and lifestyle changes you can make to manage your condition and live a full life.
There are several treatment goals you'll want to consider. In the beginning, it's essential to treat your high blood sugar and any symptoms or complications you may have.
Once you are stabilized, it will be important to manage blood sugar levels and achieve and maintain a healthy weight for the rest of your life.
Lifestyle. How you live your life each day and the habits you develop play a large role in how type 2 diabetes affects your overall health. Research finds that if your blood sugar is well managed, you can delay and prevent many health complications.
There are many things you can do right now to improve your health. For instance, you could quit smoking, lose weight (if necessary), eat more fruits and vegetables, and exercise several days a week.
Preventive care at home is essential. Get in the habit of cleaning your feet and inspecting them for sores or other problems. Also, make an extra effort to brush and floss your teeth to avoid gum disease.
Medication. The good news is there are many treatments available for those who have type 2 diabetes, including oral medications and insulin. The first step in type 2 diabetes treatment is to manage your high blood sugar levels through healthy eating, physical activity and medication prescribed by your doctor.
If these changes don't work, additional diabetes medications may be needed. Some of these medications increase insulin production; others help your body use the insulin that's already there more effectively.
Over time, your body may become less efficient at managing blood sugar, and you likely will need to start insulin therapy.
The goal of insulin therapy is to help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels between 70 mg/dL and 130 mg/dL before eating, and below 180 mg/dL within two hours after a meal. Insulin must be injected, but you can administer it with a syringe, a pen-type device or an insulin pump.
Additionally, you may need to take medications to lower your cholesterol or control your blood pressure. Some people who have kidney damage due to type 2 diabetes complications also may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Routine management and monitoring. With type 2 diabetes, your body's needs will change over time. Your doctor may adjust your treatments and ask you to make other changes to ensure you are maintaining control of your blood sugar.
Checking your blood sugar each day is the best way to stay on track. People with type 2 diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels using a glucose meter, and are advised to keep a log of those readings to share with their doctor.
Additionally, see your doctor and other healthcare providers regularly, as often as they recommend. During these appointments, your healthcare team will examine or review everything from your medications, blood sugar levels, eating habits and exercise regimen to your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Your team also will examine your kidneys, vision, teeth and feet for diabetes complications.
Remember, your healthcare team wants only the best for you, which is why it is important to follow prescribed treatments and other recommendations.