Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes
In this article:
- Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that requires constant self-management. It can be a lot to take on!
- Diabetes management includes eating healthily, being physically active, taking any prescribed medications, and monitoring blood sugar levels as your healthcare provider recommends.
- Many people with diabetes eventually develop complications such as kidney disease, vision problems, or infections.
- Lark can help you live your best life with type 2 diabetes. You can establish healthy eating habits to manage blood sugar and prevent or delay complications and comorbidities related to diabetes.
A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can be stunning whether you knew you had prediabetes or your diabetes diagnosis came out of the blue. Now, you know that your blood sugar is higher than normal. You'll need to take steps to manage blood sugar to prevent complications.
The good news is that diabetes self-management can be effective. And, you have the chance to take control of your own health. Here's what it's like to live with diabetes, and some of the common complications.
Living with Type 2 Diabetes - Medications
Injectable insulin may be the first diabetes medication you may think of, but not all people with type 2 diabetes take insulin. Your healthcare provider might first ask you to try to manage your blood sugar levels with lifestyle changes.
If those don't work, the American Diabetes Association says you might be prescribed oral medications. Mayo Clinic says your medication(s) may have one or more of the following effects.
- Increase insulin sensitivity.
- Increase insulin secretion by the pancreas.
- Reduce glucose (sugar) production and release by the liver.
- Increase excretion of glucose by the kidneys.
- Blocking breakdown of carbohydrates by stomach enzymes.
If oral medications do not work or your diabetes progresses, you may eventually need to take injectable insulin. It's important to learn how to give it properly, because the technique matters.
When you are prescribed medication, be sure you ask your doctor some questions.
- What is the dose and when do you take it?
- Does the dose or timing ever change, such as if you exercise, change your eating pattern, or have a high or low blood sugar reading?
- What happens if you miss a dose?
As always, you should ask about side effects and make sure your provider knows what other medications you are taking.
Living with Type 2 Diabetes - Testing Blood Sugar
For many people, living well with diabetes can mean testing blood sugar often. These are some reasons.
- To know what your blood sugar level is and make sure it is at a safe level.
- To learn about your personal patterns so you can notice if you ever get an unexpected result.
- To try to find links between eating, activity, and other choices, and your blood sugar levels.
You may need to test blood sugar more often under some circumstances. For example,
- When you are sick.
- When you exercise.
- If you drink alcohol.
- If your blood sugar has been hard to control recently.
Ask your healthcare provider when to test blood sugar. Some patients do it rarely, others do it once daily, and others do it more often. When you do test, be sure to enter the value into Lark to get more personalized coaching.
Lifestyle Choices for Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes
The choices you make on a daily basis affect blood sugar control. Lark can help you make healthy choices, such as these recommended by the American Diabetes Association in the Standards of Care.
- Losing weight if you are overweight.
- Working towards a goal of being physically active for at least 150 minutes per week.
- Eating a more nutritious diet. This can be high in vegetables and lean protein, and include whole grains and healthy fats. It's best to limit sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, processed meats, and fatty red meat.
- Limiting or avoiding alcohol.
- Avoiding tobacco.
It can be hard to change your habits, so consider starting with small changes. These are examples.
- Drink water instead of a soft drink.
- If you usually eat dessert, cut your portion in half and have a tablespoon of peanut butter with it.
- Stand up and move around during commercials if you are watching television.
More Tips for Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes
A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is a big deal. So is the fact of living with it. That means you may need support for managing diabetes, according to Mayo Clinic.
These are some more tips for living well with diabetes.
- Get involved with support groups. It can help to be in touch with people who are going through the same things that you are going through.
- Ask for help when you need it. That could mean asking healthcare providers for more information, or asking friends or family members to do some chores while you take a break.
- Take it slowly. Small steps are best if you are trying to make healthy lifestyle changes and turn your new choices into habits.
- Have a good attitude. Thinking positively and practicing gratitude can make life more enjoyable.
Living with Complications of Type 2 Diabetes
Complications of type 2 diabetes are common. Acute, or short-term, complications can happen when you have hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). These can lead to trips to the emergency room if you have symptoms or can't get your blood sugar back within range. It's best to talk to your provider about your plan for when you have out-of-range readings.
Long-term complications result from high blood sugar over time. You are more likely to get complications if your A1C is higher than the A1C that your healthcare provider recommends as a goal. These are some complications of diabetes.
- Chronic kidney disease.
- Impaired vision.
- Increased wounds.
- Peripheral neuropathy and numbness or tingling in the feet and hands.
There are still steps to take if you do get complications. You can help manage them by living a healthy lifestyle. Also, stay in tune with your body and keep your healthcare provider in the loop.
Living with diabetes is a big deal. You may need to take medications, measure blood glucose, and make lifestyle changes to lower blood sugar. It can help to get education and support, such as from Lark.
With Lark, you get personalized coaching to help manage blood sugar. You can establish healthy lifestyle habits, measure blood sugar, and take medications as prescribed with Lark's support. The program can help you reach your goals by providing information, reminders, and feedback when you log your activity or other health information. Lark is available 24/7 through your smartphone to help you succeed.
You may be eligible to join Lark at no cost to you if your health insurer offers it as a covered benefit. Just click here to get started in finding out!