American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

If you have been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, chances are you need to make some big lifestyle changes in order to get healthy again. Here is some information that will help you live a healthy life with diabetes. 

What is type 2 diabetes? 

Type 2 diabetes means that you have too much glucose (or sugar) in your blood. The extra sugar makes it hard for your heart, blood vessels, and other parts of the body to work effectively. As a result, you have a much higher risk for heart attack, stroke, leg amputation, kidney failure, and blindness. 

Tips for healthy living with diabetes

  1. Commit to a healthy lifestyle, one step at a time. Changing habits that have been part of your life for many years can be very difficult. Setting realistic, attainable goals rather than trying to change everything increases your ability to be successful. 
  2. Get active. Physical activity is an essential part of your diabetes management plan. Find a physical activity that you enjoy and build up to at least 150 minutes per week. Keep a snack close by in case your blood sugar drops too low. 
  3. See a nutritionist, dietitian, or certified diabetic educator to learn more about how carbohydrates and other foods affect your blood sugar level. You will also learn how to make healthier food choices to help control your diabetes. 
  4. Aim for a 7-10% weight loss. Even a small weight loss can dramatically improve your blood sugar levels. Discuss weight loss strategies with your health care provider. 
  5. Check your blood sugar as recommended by your HCP and/or certified diabetic educator. These numbers are important in determining whether your diabetes management plan (diet, exercise, medication) is working.
  6. Take medications as directed by your health care provider. If you stop taking a medication because of side effects, cost, or other reasons, make sure to notify your health care provider. Attend all scheduled medical checkups and have blood tests done when they are ordered. 
  7. Monitor your mood. Depression is especially common among people with type 2 diabetes. Notify your HCP if you are feeling down or have lost interest in activities that you used to enjoy. 
  8. Get a yearly diabetic eye exam. Diabetes can cause changes in the eyes that can lead to blindness. Regular monitoring helps pick up these changes before permanent damage sets in. 
  9. Examine your feet daily. Since diabetes decreases feeling in the feet, you may not feel a sore on your foot. Sores that get infected can lead to leg amputation. Check your feet daily and notify your HCP of anything concerning.

Though type 2 diabetes is a complex and serious condition, you have the ability to get your blood sugar under control. By living a healthier lifestyle and monitoring your condition carefully, you can still live a long, healthy life with diabetes.

Additional Resources

American Council on Exercise

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

American Diabetes Association

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