The human body uses the hormone insulin to turn sugar into energy. If you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin but can’t use it effectively. This is called insulin resistance. Although your pancreas still produces insulin, the amount it produces will decrease over time.
Type 2 diabetes is treated with diet, exercise, oral medications and, sometimes, insulin. You’ll also need to test your blood sugar every day to ensure your treatment plan is working. You’ll want to follow a meal plan and exercise regularly to keep your body as healthy as possible.
Diet and Exercise
You’ll need to manage your food intake to create a balance between medication, food and activity. In general, you should avoid fad diets. Instead, eat well-balanced meals that include fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lower fat meats, and healthy fats.
Exercise is vital for weight management and blood sugar control. It helps your body get the most energy out of the foods you eat. Exercise is not just about going to the gym. It’s all the ways you move throughout the day, so look for more ways to walk and move every day.
You know you need to learn everything you can about diabetes, but it’s equally important for your family to learn about the care you need. Your family and friends can give you support and help you keep up with your treatment plan.
Ask a close family member or friend to go with you to your first doctor appointment. Bring a friend with you to a diabetes education class or support group meeting when possible. Your family and friends can also learn about diabetes by visiting trusted diabetes websites.
Once you feel comfortable with your self-care, let your family and friends know exactly what kind of support you want. For example, do you want them to help you remember to check your blood sugar, or do you only expect their help during emergencies?
Your Diabetes Healthcare Team
At the Regional Diabetes Center, you’ll meet with a comprehensive team dedicated to your health. At the center of your care is a board-certified endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in hormones and diabetes.
Your healthcare team will also include nurses trained in endocrinology and dietitians. Nurses and dietitians at the Regional Diabetes Center are certified diabetes educators. They will teach you everything you need to know about self-managing diabetes.
Managing Long-Term Care
Diabetes can lead to complications that need to be managed. Vision and foot problems are common.
If you have problems with your vision due to poor blood sugar control, you may see an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Both types of eye doctors can examine, diagnose and treat eye diseases, but only the ophthalmologist can perform surgical procedures on the eye.
A podiatrist, or doctor who specializes in foot care, can help with nerve damage or poor blood flow to your feet, which is a common complication of diabetes.