Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes Milletus

Medically reviewed by Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Type 2 diabetes treatment

One of the foremost treatments for type 2 diabetes is preventing the condition entirely.

If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, treatment17 primarily involves lifestyle changes and monitoring of your blood sugar. However, sometimes the condition also requires the administering of diabetes medications and/or insulin.

Meeting with a diabetes educator or healthcare provider is a good way of receiving support and guidance. He or she may help you to18:

  • Develop a healthy diet and activity plan
  • Test your blood sugar and record your results
  • Recognize the signs of high or low blood sugar and how to treat it
  • Administer insulin through a syringe, pen, or pump (if necessary)
  • Monitor your feet, skin, and eyes to catch any potential complications early on
  • Buy diabetes supplies and store them properly
  • Manage stress and deal with daily diabetes care

Type 2 diabetes prevention

Even if you have prediabetes, it’s possible to prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes with healthy lifestyle choices.

Some healthy lifestyle choices include:

  • Eating a healthy diet: Choose foods low in fat and calories and high in fiber. It’s important to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Getting physical activity: Being physically active makes your body’s insulin work better. Aim to get 30–60 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week.
  • Losing excess weight: Losing at least 5–10% of your starting weight19 can help reverse prediabetes and prevent or delay progression to type 2 diabetes. To maintain a healthy weight, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits.
  • Stop smoking
  • Take medications as needed: If you’re at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, your healthcare provider may recommend medications to control cholesterol and high blood pressure.

If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, healthy choices can help prevent you from developing any complications as a result of the condition.

Diabetes treatment

All patients with type 1 diabetes require lifelong insulin therapy.

There are multiple types of insulin, including:

  • Rapid-acting insulin
  • Short-acting (regular) insulin
  • Intermediate-acting (NPH) insulin
  • Long-acting insulin

Insulin cannot be taken orally, because the enzymes in the stomach will break it down before it can be absorbed in the body. There are multiple ways of administering insulin:

  • Injections: Administering injections often requires you to use a mixture of insulin types throughout the day and night. Multiple daily injections that include a combination of long-acting and rapid-acting insulin closely mimic the body’s normal use of insulin compared to older insulin regimens.

If you choose to take insulin injections, you will likely have to inject yourself multiple times a day. You can use a fine needle and syringe or an insulin pen to inject the hormone under your skin.

  • An insulin pump: Insulin pumps, which are about the size of a cell phone, are worn on the outside of the body. A tube connects a reservoir of insulin to a catheter that’s inserted under the skin of the abdomen. Some pumps offered are wireless—you wear a pod that houses the insulin reservoir on your body that has a tiny catheter inserted under your skin. The pod can be worn on the abdomen, lower back, or on a leg or arm.

Insulin pumps are programmed to replace long-acting insulin by automatically dispensing specific amounts of rapid-acting insulin. This steady dose of insulin provided is known as your basal rate. When you eat, you program the pump with the number of carbohydrates you’re eating and your current blood sugar. The pump then gives a dose of insulin to cover your meal and correct your blood sugar, if it’s elevated.

In some cases, additional medications may be prescribed to treat type 1 diabetes, including high blood pressure medications, Aspirin, and cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Blood sugar monitoring

Depending on the type of insulin therapy you receive, you may need to check and record your blood sugar level at least 4 times a day.

Even if you take insulin and eat meals on a strict schedule, blood sugar levels can change unpredictably. You’ll learn how your blood sugar levels change in response to food, activity, illness, medications, stress, hormonal changes, and alcohol. Careful monitoring is the only way to make sure that your blood sugar levels are within your target range.

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is the newest way of monitoring blood sugar levels. Continuous glucose monitors attach to the body with a fine needle just under the skin that checks your blood glucose level every few minutes.

These devices may be especially helpful for preventing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and, when used by people older than 25, have been shown to lower A1C. They aren’t yet considered as accurate as standard blood sugar monitoring, however, so it’s still important that you check your blood sugar levels manually.

Type 2 diabetes medication

May be prescribed

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Diabetic diet

The American Diabetes Association reports “What can I eat?19 to be the most commonly asked question by people recently diagnosed with diabetes. Luckily, there are many resources on nutrition20 for people with diabetes.

The ADA does, however, emphasize that your diet—and what foods you should or should not eat—should be determined based on your individual health requirements and preferences. Because all bodies respond differently to various types of foods and diets, no one particular diet is prescribed for all people with diabetes.

There are some guidelines that provide information on diets and foods that can help you manage your blood sugar. The ADA’s 2019 Nutrition Consensus Report21 provides some tips for determining the right diet for your needs and preferences. The report recommends seeing a registered dietician nutritionist (RDN), who can help you determine what eating plan may work the best for you and your treatment goals.

One recommended way for people with diabetes to reduce their risk of developing complications (such as cardiovascular disease and kidney disease) is to swap unhealthy foods for more nutritious, less fattening options. While many different diets can help you manage your diabetes, it is important THAT YOU minimize added sugars and refined grains and get plenty of non-starchy vegetables and whole, minimally processed foods.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.