Making healthy choices
Making healthy choices is a big part of managing type 2 diabetes. The more you learn about the disease, the more motivated you may be to make good choices and follow your treatment plan.
Eat healthy foods
- Diabetes: Counting Carbs if You Don't Use Insulin
- Diabetes: Counting Carbs if You Use Insulin
- Diabetes: Using a Plate Format for Eating
- Diabetes: Coping With Your Feelings About Your Diet
- Quick Tips: Smart Snacking When You Have Diabetes
- Shift from eating unhealthy saturated fats to eating healthier unsaturated fats.
- Avoid foods that contain trans fat.
- Eat less salt.
- Be careful with alcohol, which affects your blood sugar. It can make problems from nerve damage, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight even worse. Adult women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day with a meal. Adult men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day with a meal. And women who are pregnant should not drink at all.
You don't have to join a gym to get fit or be active. There are many things you can do, such as walking or even vacuuming.
- Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life
- Fitness: Walking for Wellness
- Quick Tips: Getting Active at Home
Test your blood sugar
- 80 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) to 130 mg/dL before meals, when using a home blood sugar test. If you are pregnant, aim for a blood sugar level from 60 mg/dL to 99 mg/dL.
- Less than 180 mg/dL 1 to 2 hours after meals, using the home blood sugar test. If you are pregnant, aim for 100 mg/dL to 129 mg/dL for your highest blood sugar level 1 to 2 hours after meals.
Having a record of your blood sugar over time can help you and your doctor know how well your treatment is working and whether you need to make any changes.
- Home Blood Sugar Diary (What is a PDF document?)
- High Blood Sugar Record Level (What is a PDF document?)
Take medicines, if you need them
- Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar From Insulin
- Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar From Medicines
- Diabetes: Giving Yourself an Insulin Shot
Check your feet and skin daily
- Diabetes: Taking Care of Your Feet
- Checklist for Daily Foot Exams
- Care of Your Skin When You Have Diabetes
Living and coping
Trying to manage your type 2 diabetes isn't easy. Some days you may feel like it's just too much work to do everything you need to do. There will be times when you just don't feel like testing and tracking your blood sugar.
It's normal to feel sad or even angry sometimes when you have a health problem. Even though you've had a while to get used to the idea of having type 2 diabetes, you may still have trouble adjusting. You may find it hard to stay motivated.
When you feel sad, give yourself time to adjust to your losses. If you feel overwhelmed, just try to focus on one day at a time. Do the best you can. You don't have to be perfect.
Get the support you need
If you're having trouble coping with your feelings, try talking with a counselor. A professional may make it easier to say things you wouldn't talk about with friends or family.
You might also want to:
- Talk with friends and family about how you feel and any help you need.
- Ask a friend or family member to come to counseling with you.
- Talk to your spiritual adviser if you belong to a church or spiritual group. He or she will have experience helping people deal with their feelings.
- Join a support group. You can find one through your doctor, your local hospital, or the American Diabetes Association.
One Man's Story:
As a grocery manager, Andy is on his feet all day. He also likes to bowl and play basketball with his buddies. He started thinking about what he would do if he couldn't walk, work, or play. "It finally just hit me how serious this disease is. I couldn't keep ignoring it."-Andy
Taking care of yourself in other ways
Be aware of other things you can do to help yourself stay healthy.
- Wear medical identification at all times. You can buy medical identification such as bracelets , necklaces, or other kinds of jewelry at your local drugstore.
- Be careful when you are driving. For example, wear a medical ID bracelet and have quick-sugar foods with you.
- Be prepared so that you can prevent problems while you are traveling. You can do things to be prepared, such as taking extra medical supplies with you.
- Get a flu vaccine every year. When you have the flu, it can be harder to manage your blood sugar. It's a good idea to get a pneumococcal vaccine for pneumonia and a vaccine for hepatitis B.
- Use vision aids if you have trouble with your eyesight.