Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose) — an important source of fuel for your body. With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells — or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but today more children are being diagnosed with the disorder, probably due to the rise in childhood obesity. There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but losing weight, eating well and exercising can help manage the disease. If diet and exercise aren’t enough to manage your blood sugar well, you may also need diabetes medications or insulin therapy.
GET MORE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
There are many benefits to regular physical activity. Exercise can help you:
- Lose weight
- Lower your blood sugar
- Boost your sensitivity to insulin — which helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range
Research shows that aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes. The greatest benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.
Excess weight is the single most important cause of type 2 diabetes. Being overweight increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes seven-fold. Being obese makes you 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy weight.Losing weight can help if your weight is above the healthy-weight range. Losing 7-10% of your current weight can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half.
Add type 2 diabetes to the long list of health problems linked with smoking. Smokers are roughly 50% more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers, and heavy smokers have an even higher risk.
Moderate physical activity on most days of the week helps manage weight, reduce blood glucose levels and may also improve blood pressure and cholesterol.
CONTROL YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
Most people can do this with regular exercise, a balanced diet and by keeping a healthy weight. In some cases, you might need medication prescribed by your doctor.
TAKE STRESS SERIOUSLY
If you’re stressed, it’s easy to neglect your usual diabetes care routine. To manage your stress, set limits. Prioritize your tasks. Learn relaxation techniques.Get plenty of sleep. And above all, stay positive. Diabetes care is within your control. If you’re willing to do your part, diabetes won’t stand in the way of an active, healthy life.
IF YOU DRINK ALCOHOL, DO SO RESPONSIBLY
Alcohol can cause high or low blood sugar, depending on how much you drink and whether you eat at the same time. If you choose to drink, do so only in moderation, which means no more than one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than 65 and two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.Always drink with a meal or snack, and remember to include the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie count. Also, be aware that alcohol can lead to low blood sugar later, especially for people who use insulin.
CONSIDER A DAILY ASPIRIN
If you have diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking or high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend taking a low dose of aspirin every day to help reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you don’t have additional cardiovascular risk factors, the risk of bleeding from aspirin use likely outweighs any benefits of aspirin use. Ask your doctor whether daily aspirin therapy is appropriate for you, including which strength of aspirin would be best.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR TEETH
Diabetes may leave you prone to gum infections. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss your teeth once a day and schedule dental exams at least twice a year. Call your dentist if your gums bleed or look red or swollen.
GET PLENTY OF FIBER
Fiber may help you:Reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control. Lower your risk of heart disease. Promote weight loss by helping you feel fullFoods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts.