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Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 In Adults


Diabetes mellitus type 2 is a disease that affects how your body uses glucose (sugar). Normally, when the blood sugar level increases, the pancreas makes more insulin. Insulin helps move sugar out of the blood so it can be used for energy. Type 2 diabetes develops because either the body cannot make enough insulin, or it cannot use the insulin correctly. After many years, your pancreas may stop making insulin.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have severe abdominal pain, or the pain spreads to your back. You may also be vomiting.

  • You have trouble staying awake or focusing.

  • You are shaking or sweating.

  • You have blurred or double vision.

  • Your breath has a fruity, sweet smell.

  • Your breathing is deep and labored, or rapid and shallow.

  • Your heartbeat is fast and weak.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You are vomiting or have diarrhea.

  • You have an upset stomach and cannot eat the foods on your meal plan.

  • You feel weak or more tired than usual.

  • You feel dizzy, have headaches, or are easily irritated.

  • Your skin is red, warm, dry, or swollen.

  • You have a wound that does not heal.

  • You have numbness in your arms or legs.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Hypoglycemic medicines or insulin may be given to decrease the amount of sugar in your blood.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Check your blood sugar level as directed:

You will be taught how to use a glucose monitor. Ask your healthcare provider when and how often to check during the day. You will need to check your blood sugar level at least 3 times each day if you are on insulin. If you check your blood sugar level before a meal , it should be between 80 and 130 mg/dL. If you check your blood sugar level 1 to 2 hours after a meal , it should be less than 180 mg/dL. Ask your healthcare provider if these are good goals for you. Write down your results, and show them to your healthcare provider. He may use the results to make changes to your medicine, food, or exercise schedules.

Wear medical alert identification:

Wear medical alert jewelry or carry a card that says you have diabetes. Ask your healthcare provider where to get these items.

Medical alert ID bracelet

Check your feet each day for sores:

Wear shoes and socks that fit correctly. Do not trim your toenails. Ask your healthcare provider for more info about foot care.

Maintain a healthy weight:

Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. A healthy weight can help you control your diabetes. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight. Even a 10 to 15 pound weight loss can help you manage your blood sugar level.


A dietitian will help you make a meal plan to keep your blood sugar level steady. Do not skip meals. Your blood sugar level may drop too low if you have taken diabetes medicine and do not eat.

  • Keep track of carbohydrates (sugar and starchy foods). Your blood sugar level can get too high if you eat too many carbohydrates. Your dietitian will help you plan meals and snacks that have the right amount of carbohydrates.

  • Eat low-fat foods , such as skinless chicken and low-fat milk.

  • Eat less sodium (salt). Limit high-sodium foods, such as soy sauce, potato chips, and soup. Do not add salt to food you cook. Limit your use of table salt.

  • Eat high-fiber foods , such as vegetables, whole grain breads, and beans.

Limit alcohol:

Alcohol affects your blood sugar level and can make it harder to manage your diabetes. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.


Exercise can help keep your blood sugar level steady, decrease your risk of heart disease, and help you lose weight. Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Include muscle strengthening activities 2 days each week. Do not sit for longer than 90 minutes. Work with your healthcare provider to create an exercise plan. You may need to eat a carbohydrate snack before, during, or after you exercise. If your blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/dL, have a carbohydrate snack before you exercise. Examples are 4 to 6 crackers, ½ banana, 8 ounces (1 cup) of milk, or 4 ounces (½ cup) of juice. If your blood sugar level is higher than directed, check your blood or urine for ketones before you exercise. Do not exercise if your blood sugar level is high and you have ketones in your urine or blood.

Do not smoke:

Nicotine can damage blood vessels and make it more difficult to manage your diabetes. Do not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes or to help you quit. They still contain nicotine. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.

Ask about vaccines:

You have a higher risk for serious illness if you get the flu, pneumonia, or hepatitis. Ask your healthcare provider if you should get a flu, pneumonia, or hepatitis B vaccine, and when to get the vaccine.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return to have your A1c checked every 3 months. You will need to return at least once each year to have your feet checked. You will need an eye exam once a year to check for retinopathy. You will also need urine tests every year to check for kidney problems. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 In Adults (Aftercare Instructions)