Type 2 Diabetes - Living With Type 2 Diabetes

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

Eat a balanced diet, and try to manage the amount of carbohydrate you eat by spreading it out over the day.

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

The dietary guidelines for good health can help everyone form healthy eating habits, including people who have type 2 diabetes. It is especially important for people with type 2 diabetes to:

  • 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.

Be active

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

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you keep your blood sugar levels at:1


A continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, reports on your blood sugar at least every 5 minutes, day and night. And it sounds an alarm if it sees that your levels are headed out of range.

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

Insulin and some diabetes medicines may cause low blood sugar.

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

Check your feet and skin every day for signs of problems. Nerve damage makes it hard to feel an injury or infection.

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.

Depression: Stop Negative Thoughts

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.


If you have symptoms of depression, such as a lack of interest in things you used to enjoy, a lack of energy, or trouble sleeping, talk with your doctor. For more help, see the topic Depression.

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:

Andy, 52

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

Read more about Andy and his diabetes routine.

Taking care of yourself in other ways

Be aware of other things you can do to help yourself stay healthy.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.