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What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) condition. With diabetes, the sugar level in your blood is too high. Diabetes keeps your body from turning food into energy. That’s why you may feel tired and rundown, especially after eating. Controlling your diabetes means making some changes that may be hard at first. Your healthcare team will help you.

Check Your Blood Sugar

Woman using glucometer.

Persons adjusting medications, or with symptoms, or who are ill (even with a cold) should test to ensure their blood sugar is not high. When your blood sugar is within your target range, your meal plan, activity plan, and medication are working to keep you healthy.

  • Your healthcare team will tell you how often and when you need to test.

  • If you're on insulin therapy, do self-testing several times a day as directed.

  • Be aware that some oral medications can cause low blood sugar ("lows"). Ask your healthcare team how often you should test your blood sugar to avoid lows.

  • If your blood sugar is too high or too low, your healthcare team may make changes in your meal plan, activity plan, or adjust your medication.

Follow Your Meal Plan

Man and woman preparing food at kitchen counter. Man is cutting chicken breast. Woman is sprinkling herbs on vegetables.

Following your meal plan helps control the amount of sugar in your blood. It also helps you control your weight. Excess weight keeps your body from using its own insulin to turn food into energy.

  • Your healthcare team will help you create a meal plan that works for you.

  • You don’t have to give up all the foods you like. But you may need to eat smaller amounts of some foods. Eating balanced meals with about the same amount of carbohydrate (starches and fruits) at each meal will help control your blood sugar.

  • You need to eat the right amount of food. Eat your meals and snacks at about the same time each day. Do not skip meals.

  • Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Some oral medications need to be taken with meals containing carbohydrates.

Be Physically Active

Man and woman walking outdoors wearing comfortable clothes.

Being active helps lower your blood sugar. It does this by helping your body use insulin to turn food into energy. Activity also helps you manage your weight.

  • Your healthcare team will work with you to create an activity program that’s right for you.

  • Your activity program will be based on your age, general health, and what type of activity you like to do. For many people, walking after meals is a great start.

Take Care of Yourself

When you have diabetes, you may be more likely to develop other health problems. These include foot, eye, heart, and kidney problems.

  • Your healthcare team will tell you how to care for yourself to help prevent these problems.

  • You also need to have frequent checkups, including eye and foot exams, and blood tests. At least two times a year, ask your doctor to give you an A1C test. This blood test helps show how well you have been controlling your blood sugar in the past 2 to 3 months.

  • If you smoke, quit! Smoking makes your diabetes and the problems you can have from it even worse. Ask your doctor about ways to quit.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/15/2011
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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