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Managing Type 2 Diabetes

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  • Written By: Dr. Schuyler Williams
Managing Type 2 Diabetes
According to the CDC, about 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and approximately 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing it. So, if you have type 2 diabetes, how do you get it under control? How do you manage it? Dr. Schuyler Williams, Touro’s Internal Medicine physician talks about managing Type 2 diabetes in this interview with WVUE Fox 8.

What causes Type 2 diabetes?

Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in your body for use as energy. If you have type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and can cause other serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

Symptoms and risk factors

You’re at risk for type 2 diabetes if you:
  • Have prediabetes.
  • Are overweight.
  • Are 45 years or older.
  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
  • Are physically active less than 3 times a week.
  • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed over 9 pounds.
  • Are an African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Native person. Some Pacific Islanders and Asian American people are also at higher risk.
If you have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease you may also be at risk for type 2 diabetes.

How do you manage a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis?

Management of type 2 diabetes includes:
  • Healthy eating
  • Regular exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Medication management
  • Possibly, diabetes medication or insulin therapy
  • Blood sugar monitoring
These steps will help keep your blood sugar level closer to normal, which can delay or prevent complications.

The importance of checking your blood sugar

You’ll need to check your blood sugar regularly. Ask your doctor how often you should check it and what your target blood sugar levels should be. Keeping your blood sugar levels as close to target as possible will help you prevent or delay diabetes-related complications.

If you were just diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, what are the steps that you would recommend? 

Whether you were just diagnosed with diabetes or have had it for some time, meeting with a diabetes educator is a great way to get support and guidance, including how to:
  • Develop a healthy eating and activity plan
  • Test your blood sugar and keep a record of the results
  • Recognize the signs of high or low blood sugar and what to do about it
  • If needed, give yourself insulin by syringe, pen, or pump
  • Monitor your feet, skin, and eyes to catch problems early
  • Buy diabetes supplies and store them properly
  • Manage stress and deal with daily diabetes care