Once you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, the treatment depends on the severity of the disorder, your goals, and whether you have developed any complications. In general, regardless of the treatment chosen for your Type 2 diabetes, you will still need to monitor your blood glucose levels very closely.
It may be worth investing in a home blood glucose monitoring system so that you can keep track of your sugar levels. At the same time, continuous and careful follow-up with a dietitian, a diabetic nurse, and/or a diabetic educator is highly recommended. The treatment of and managing diabetes includes the following.
Changes in Lifestyle
To manage Type 2 diabetes, changes in your lifestyle are highly recommended. This means you should practice the following suggestions.
- Healthy diet: Eat a diet that is rich in veggies, fruits, nuts, whole wheat, and unsaturated oil. This type of diet can help keep your blood sugar levels low.
- Read labels: Learn to read labels and avoid foods high in sugar and saturated fats.
- Eating habits: Eat at regular intervals and only eat until you are full. For help with managing diabetes this way, use a smaller plate.
- Sugary drinks: Avoid drinking cola beverages as they contain high levels of sugar and junk calories, along with other sugary beverages.
- Eat more fish: Instead of meat, eat more seafood.
- Drink more water: Drinking water is good for your body. It can also help you feel fuller and less hungry.
- Avoid fast foods: Avoid fast foods and processed foods as they can contain unhealthy amounts of carbohydrates and fats, and are typically rich in calories.
- Manage your caloric intake: Make sure you do not eat more than 2,000 calories per day if you are a male and 1,800 calories if you are a female.
- Avoid too much salt: Too much salt in your diet can worsen your blood pressure. The current recommendations are to consume no more than 2,300 mg. of salt per day if you are under the age of 50, but it decreases to 1,500 mg. of salt per day when over the age of 50.
- Avoid alcohol: Even though some experts recommend one glass of wine per day to lower cholesterol levels, too much wine can damage your liver. Instead, the small benefits of wine can easily be obtained by walking for an extra 30 minutes every day.
- Plan a menu: Consult with a dietitian to help you make a menu plan that will be just right for you.
Increase Physical Activity
- If you want to lower your blood sugar, avoid the use of medications, and begin managing diabetes, one of the best ways is to start some type of physical activity. Any physical activity is better than none.
- No matter what exercise you select, it should be done regularly or at least 4-5 times a week.
- Exercises that can lower blood sugar include walking, swimming, cycling, jogging, aerobics, weight training, and the use of exercise machines. All these exercises are equally effective at lowering blood sugars and reducing weight. Choose an exercise that you like so that you will continue with it.
- If you are just starting out, walking is the best exercise. A brief walk for 45-60 minutes a day can help burn off 300 calories a day. Walking is safe, it is free, allows you to enjoy nature, and can be done at any time of the day.
- If you have never exercised before, see your healthcare provider determine if you are fit enough for exercise and what type of exercise will be safe for you.
Most newly diagnosed diabetics or prediabetics start off with lifestyle changes. If lifestyle changes aren’t sufficient to lower your blood sugar, you may need assistance from prescription medications. There are over a dozen medications, including insulin, that can be used to lower blood sugars.
Your healthcare provider can determine what is the best medication for you and how long you should take it. In some cases, you may need two diabetic medications or a combination of oral medication with insulin. Most of these medications have been around for several decades and are relatively safe. In addition, the cost of medication is also covered by most insurers, including Medicare.
Most Type 2 diabetics also have high blood pressure and elevated levels of cholesterol. Again, your healthcare provider may manage these conditions with medications and/or a change in diet.
Weight Loss Surgery
Today, one option for obese diabetics is weight loss surgery. There is good evidence showing that weight reduction through surgery can not only cure or make it easier to help with managing diabetes, it can also lower your blood pressure, ease the pressure on your joints, and improve the quality of your life.
There are several types of weight loss procedures, and they all help you lose weight by restricting the amount of food you can eat. But weight loss surgery is just one part of the overall treatment plan. You still need to make drastic changes in your lifestyle to ensure that you will not regain weight. The type of surgery you require can be determined by a surgeon.
In general, insurers and Medicare will pay for weight loss surgery if you meet the criteria. Type 2 diabetics with a body mass index of 35 or higher are eligible for these procedures. After the surgery, you will need long-term follow-up care with a healthcare provider to ensure that you are not developing any nutritional deficiencies or osteoporosis.
Type 2 diabetes can be managed by making changes in lifestyle and incorporating exercise. However, if these fail, then you may need medications, including insulin. At the same time, you need to closely monitor your blood sugar levels.
Diabetes is a serious disease and should not be taken lightly. Within a short span of time, it can lead to devastating complications that can affect the quality of your life. The best advice is to follow up closely with a healthcare provider and/or a diabetic nurse.
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