In type 2 diabetes, your pancreas is still working but not as effectively as it needs to. This means your body is building insulin resistance and is unable to effectively convert glucose into energy leaving too much glucose in the blood. Type 2 diabetes can sometimes initially be managed through lifestyle modification including a healthy diet, regular exercise and monitoring your blood glucose levels.
- Eating well helps manage your blood glucose levels and your body weight
- Exercising helps the insulin work more effectively, lowers your blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Regular blood glucose monitoring tests whether the treatment being followed is helping to manage blood glucose levels or whether you need to adjust your treatment.
The aim of diabetes management is to keep blood glucose levels as close to the target range between 4 to 6 mmol/L (fasting), this will help prevent both short-term and long-term complications.
Your healthcare team including your doctor, specialist, dietician and Credential Diabetes Educator, can help you with blood glucose monitoring, healthy eating and physical activity.
However, sometimes healthy eating and exercise is not enough to keep blood glucose levels within target range. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition. Over time the pancreas produces less insulin and the body may continue to be resistant to insulin if lifestyle changes such as weight loss and increased physical activity are not made. Insulin helps convert glucose into energy, which means that as type 2 diabetes progresses, the pancreas may not be able to produce enough insulin to meet the body’s requirements. To help the pancreas produce more insulin, or to make the insulin that the body produces work better, people with type 2 diabetes are often prescribed tablets to keep their blood glucose levels in target range.
Eventually it may be necessary to start taking insulin to manage blood glucose levels. This is when your body is no longer producing enough insulin of its own. Sometimes tablets may be continued in addition to insulin.
If you require medication as treatment, it is important to note that this is part of the natural progression of the condition, and taking medication when required can result in fewer complications in the long-term.
The tablets or injections are intended to be used together with healthy eating and regular physical activity, not as a substitute.
Occasionally, side effects can occur with medications. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any problems. An alternative medication is usually available.
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Type 2 diabetes and me
Learn how to live well with diabetes by accessing a free online course developed by the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS). It will help you learn how to live with diabetes, show you where to go for support and provide you with links to additional information. The online course is easy to use and can be accessed anytime, anywhere - you can even learn on the go with your mobile! The 10 short topics include interactive videos and you have the freedom to start and stop at any point, and complete as much or little as you like – the choice is yours!
Click here to register and start learning.