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Type 2 Diabetes Management for Adults


Type 2 diabetes

is a disease that affects how your body uses glucose (sugar). Either your body cannot make enough insulin, or it cannot use the insulin correctly. It is important to keep diabetes controlled to prevent damage to your heart, blood vessels, and other organs.


What you can do to manage your blood sugar levels:

  • Talk to your care team if you become stressed about diabetes care. Sometimes being able to fit diabetes care into your life can cause increased stress. The stress can cause you not to take care of yourself properly. Your care team can help by offering tips about self-care. Your care team may suggest you talk to a mental health provider. The provider can listen and offer help with self-care issues.
  • Make healthy food choices. Work with a dietitian to develop a meal plan that works for you and your schedule. A dietitian can help you learn how to eat the right amount of carbohydrates during your meals and snacks. Carbohydrates can raise your blood sugar if you eat too many at one time. Some foods that contain carbohydrates include breads, cereals, rice, pasta, and sweets.
  • Drink water. Water can help your kidneys function properly. Decrease the amount of drinks with sugar substitutes you have, such as diet sodas. Avoid sugary drinks, such as regular sodas and fruit juice.
  • Get regular physical activity. Physical activity can help you get to your target blood sugar level goal and manage your weight. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity each week. Do not miss more than 2 days in a row. Do not sit longer than 30 minutes at a time. Your healthcare provider can help you create an activity plan. The plan can include the best activities for you and can help you build your strength and endurance.
    Black Family Walking for Exercise
    Strength Training for Adults
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him or her to help you create a safe weight loss plan if you are overweight.
  • Check your blood sugar level as directed and as needed. Ask your healthcare provider what your blood sugar levels should be. Ask him or her to help you create a plan for times to check your level.
    How to check your blood sugar
  • Take your diabetes medicine or insulin as directed. You may need diabetes medicine, insulin, or both to help control your blood sugar levels. Your healthcare provider will teach you how and when to take your diabetes medicine or insulin.
  • Go to all follow-up appointments. Your healthcare provider may need to check your A1c every 3 months. An A1c test shows the average amount of sugar in your blood over the past 2 to 3 months. Your healthcare provider will tell you what your A1c level should be.

What you need to know about high blood sugar:

High blood sugar may not cause any symptoms. It may cause you to feel more thirsty than usual or urinate more often than usual. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage your nerves, blood vessels, tissues, and organs. The following can increase your blood sugar levels:

  • Large meals or large amounts of carbohydrates at one time
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • A lower dose of medicine or insulin, or a late dose

What you need to know about low blood sugar:

You can prevent symptoms such as shakiness, dizziness, irritability, or confusion by preventing your blood sugar from going too low.

  • Treat low blood sugar right away.
    • Drink 4 ounces of juice or have 1 tube of glucose gel.
    • Check your blood sugar again 10 to 15 minutes later.
    • When your blood sugar goes back to normal, eat a meal or snack to prevent another decrease.
  • Ways to Raise Your Blood Sugar
  • Keep glucose gel, raisins, or even hard candy with you at all times to treat low blood sugar.
  • Your blood sugar can get too low if you take diabetes medicine or insulin and do not eat enough food.
  • If you use insulin, check your blood sugar before you exercise.
    • If your blood sugar is below 100 mg/dL, eat 4 crackers, 2 ounces of raisins, or drink 4 ounces of juice.
    • Check your blood sugar every 30 minutes if you exercise more than 1 hour.
    • You may need a snack during or after exercise.

Other things you can do to manage your diabetes:

  • Wear medical alert jewelry or carry a card that says you have diabetes. Your provider can tell you where to get the items.
    Medical Alert Jewelry
  • Be safe when you drive. If you feel like your blood sugar is low while you are driving, pull over and check your blood sugar level. Treat low blood sugar before you start driving again, if needed. Keep snacks such as raisins and crackers in your car. You can also keep glucose gel in your car.
  • Know the risks if you choose to drink alcohol. Alcohol can cause your blood sugar levels to be low if you use insulin. Alcohol can cause high blood sugar levels and weight gain if you drink too much. 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.
  • 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.
  • Have screenings for complications of diabetes and other conditions that happen with diabetes. You will need to be screened for kidney problems, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood vessel problems, eye problems, and eating disorders. Some screenings may begin right away and some may happen within the first 5 years of diagnosis. You will need to continue screenings through your lifetime. Keep your follow-up appointments with all providers.
  • Ask about vaccines. You have a higher risk for serious illness if you get the flu, pneumonia, COVID-19, or hepatitis. Ask your healthcare provider if you should get a flu, pneumonia, or hepatitis B vaccine, and when to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to have blood tests done before your follow-up visit. The test results will show if changes need to be made in your treatment or self-care. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visit. Talk to your provider if you cannot afford your medicine.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.