If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, your doctor should talk to you about treatment options to help control your blood sugar levels. You may need to use an injectable insulin product (such as Humalog or Levemir), an oral drug (such as Onglyza or Synjardy), or some combination of medications. Taking these medications on a regular basis as prescribed can help you avoid diabetes complications and continue living a normal life.
However, medication isn’t the only component of a good Type 2 diabetes treatment plan. Keep the following 11 tips in mind, and talk to your healthcare provider to come up with a personalized treatment plan that can help you manage your Type 2 diabetes.
1. Keep your diet balanced. Incorporate a variety of produce, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats into your diet.
2. Limit processed foods and refined grains. Processed foods (such as potato chips) and refined grains (such as white bread) can cause your blood sugar to spike.
3. Eat food around the same time every day. Having smaller, regular meals and snacks (as opposed to one or two large meals) will help keep your blood sugar levels consistent.
4. Keep healthy snacks on hand. Some activities and diabetes medications can cause your blood sugar to drop, so keep healthy snacks around to help control your blood sugar levels (and curb hunger between meals). Healthy snacks recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) include baby carrots, unsalted almonds, and whole wheat crackers.
Health Diabetes Snacks
5. Aim for 30 minute workouts. The ADA recommends getting 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity at least five days a week. This can be any activity that gets your heart rate up, such as jogging, biking, or dancing. If you can’t set aside 30 minutes at a time, consider breaking your daily workout into three 10-minute sessions.
6. Incorporate exercise into your daily routines. Find ways to make exercise a part of the things that you do on a daily basis; for example, you could take your dog on a brisk walk, ride your bike to work, or do chores at a steady pace.
7. Find a workout buddy. Make plans to exercise with a friend at least a couple times a week so that you can motivate one another to stick with your routine.
8. Sign up for a fitness class. If you’ve registered for a fitness class—especially one that you’ve paid for—you’ll have an additional incentive to work out. You may also find yourself motivated by the social environment of a group fitness class.
9. Find stress-reducing activities that work for you. Stress can actually raise your blood sugar, so identify activities that will help you relax, such as meditating, doing yoga, or taking a bath.
10. Get at least 7-8 hours for sleep. All adults should aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, but it’s especially important if you have diabetes. Getting enough sleep will help you feel rested so that you’re better able to handle stress, get exercise, and stick to a healthy diet.
11. Keep all doctor’s appointments. Because diabetes is a chronic condition, you will need to see your doctor regularly to ensure your medications and self-management are working. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine how often you should schedule appointments and what you will need to have tested.
There are many ways to improve and manage your Type 2 diabetes condition. Consider pursuing some of these strategies to improve your overall health. Also, consult with a doctor about how healthy eating, exercise and lifestyle changes could complement your diabetes medication regimen.