Managing Type 2 Diabetes – Take an Active Role in Your Care

Managing type 2 diabetes involves making healthy lifestyle choices, monitoring your blood sugar levels and working closely with your health care team. By actively participating in your treatment, you will find that managing type 2 diabetes is possible and you can live a full and enriched life.

Being overweight, eating a poor nutritional diet, and being inactive can complicate your diabetes, yet these factors are under your control. While making lifestyle changes is not always enough, and medications may be needed to bring your blood sugar level down, you can make a difference in your health.

Steps to managing type 2 diabetes:

  1. Follow a healthy eating plan, which is low in saturated fat, salt and sugar. Your diabetes type 2 diet will also be high in fiber which slows the emptying of food from your stomach causing a more gradual rise in your blood sugar level.
  2. Lose weight. If you are overweight then make it a goal to lose at least 7 percent of your body weight. This will not only help you manage type 2 diabetes after a diagnosis, this recommendation has also been show to help people reduce their risk of developing diabetes. "According to the research, a 7 percent loss of body weight and 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week can reduce the chance of developing diabetes by 58 percent in those who are at high risk. The lifestyle changes cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or weight"(1).
  3. Increase physical activity. By being more active during the week you not only promote weight loss but also help your body respond better to insulin. This may reduce your need for medication.
  4. Track your blood sugar level. One of the challenges encountered when first managing diabetes is how to regulate your blood sugar level throughout the day. By tracking how different foods, activities and drugs affect your blood sugar you will be better able to balance meals and medications.
  5. Take your medications or supplements regularly. One key to successfully managing type 2 diabetes is setting a schedule and adhering to it. By being consistent and taking your medications on a set schedule you will find more stability in your blood sugar.

Managing type 2 diabetes is greatly under your control but you do not have to work at this alone. In fact, by working closely with your doctor and a nutritional adviser you will improve your condition and avoid possible health complications later in life.

(1) NHIBI (2010). Manage diabetes. Retrieved from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/actintime/rhar/md.htm

 

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