Frequently Asked Questions
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that develops when the body’s tissues cannot use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body’s cells use sugar (glucose) for energy. It also helps the body store extra sugar in muscle, fat, and liver cells. Over time, the pancreas cannot make enough insulin, and without it, sugar cannot get into the cells to do its work, causing high blood sugar levels. Diabetes can lead to diseases of the heart, blood vessels, nerves, kidneys, and eyes.
How do I take care of my Diabetes?
How can you care for yourself at home?
- Keep your blood sugar at a target level (which you set with your doctor).
- Carbohydrate—the body’s main source of fuel—affects blood sugar more than any other nutrient. Carbohydrate is in fruits, vegetables, milk, and yogurt. It also is in breads, cereals, vegetables such as potatoes and corn, and sugary foods such as candy and cakes. Follow your meal plan to know how much carbohydrate to eat at each meal and snack.
- Aim for 30 minutes of exercise on most, preferably all, days of the week. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports. Try to do muscle-strengthening exercises at least 2 times a week.
- Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
Why should you plan your meals?
Meal planning can be a key part of managing diabetes. Planning meals and snacks with the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat can help you keep your blood sugar at the target level you set with your doctor. You don’t have to eat special foods. You can eat what your family eats, including sweets, once in a while. You do have to pay attention to how often and how much you eat certain foods.
You may want to work with a dietitian or a certified diabetes educator. He or she can give you tips and meal ideas and can answer your questions about meal planning. A health professional can also help you reach a healthy weight if that is one of your goals.
How to take care of feet and toenails?
Checking your loved one’s feet and keeping them clean and soft can help prevent cracks and infection in the skin. This is especially important for people who have diabetes. Keeping toenails trimmed—and polished if that’s what the person likes—also helps the person feel well-groomed.
If the person you care for has diabetes or has foot problems, such as bad bunions and corns, consider taking them to see a podiatrist. This is a doctor who specializes in the care of the feet. Sometimes a podiatrist will come to the home if the person can’t go out for visits.
Try to take the person for salon pedicures if that is something they like. It’s a chance to get out, see people, and stay active.
You can do basic nail care at home. Usually, all you need to do is keep the nails clean and at a safe length.