What to Expect: Diabetes Guide

A Guide for coping with Type 2 Diabetes

What exactly is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that occurs when your body does not use insulin properly. This causes the glucose level in the blood to rise. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas produces extra insulin to make up for the difference. But, over time it isn't able to keep up and can't make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels.

A Diabetic Diet

A healthy diet is a way of eating that that reduces risk for complications such as heart disease and stroke. Healthy eating includes eating a wide variety of foods including vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, poultry, and fish. It is important to include a variety of food in your diet and watch your portion sizes. Your meals should consist of vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Avoid processed foods.

Blood Glucose Monitoring

Blood Glucose Monitoring is a way of testing the concentration of glucose in the blood. The process involves piercing the skin (typically on the finger) which draws blood, and placing the blood on a test strip. Then putting the test strip into a blood glucose monitoring machine. This allows you to determine when you may need an insulin shot to help lower your blood sugar. It is recommended that type 2 diabetics test their blood glucose level at least once a day.

Diabetes and Exercise

Exercise can help reduce the glucose in your blood. Since your body can't use insulin properly, exercise plays a key role in managing your diabetes. Muscles use glucose when your exercising, even without insulin. This causes the blood glucose to go down. Also, your insulin resistances goes down. That means your body can use insulin more effectively.

Who can help you?

  • Nurse Educator: A nurse educator or diabetes nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with special experience training and background in caring for and teaching people with diabetes. This health care professional will help you better understand your diabetes.
  • Dietitian: Your dietitian helps you figure out your food needs based on your desired weight, lifestyle, medication, and other health goals. A dietitian can also help you read labels, balance foods and medicine, and how to make food substitutions.
  • Eye Doctor: Since diabetes can affect blood vessels in the eye, it is good to have an eye doctor to visit every once in a while. It's recommended for diabetics to see their eye doctor at least once a year. These checkups are the best way to detect diabetic eye disease. Your eye doctor will check for any changes in your eyes.