90 per cent of Canadians with diabetes are living with type 2 diabetes.
You may feel isolated or overwhelmed at times, but management is possible and you're not alone. Type 2 diabetes can be managed with healthy foods, regular exercise and losing weight (if overweight or obese).
Eventually, most people with type 2 diabetes will also need medication to manage their blood sugar levels.
Understanding type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is caused by several different risk factors. Some of these factors can be controlled or managed (like high blood pressure or smoking) while other factors (like having a higher-risk ethnic background) can't be controlled.
Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your body cannot make enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body to control the level of sugar in your blood.
As a result, glucose (sugar) builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy. If left unmanaged, the excess sugar in your blood can eventually cause problems and lead to serious health complications.
A lot of people don’t present any symptoms, which means some people can live with type 2 diabetes for many years without knowing it.
You can manage type 2 diabetes by:
- eating healthy meals and snacks
- enjoying regular physical activity
- monitoring your blood sugar with a home blood glucose meter
- aiming for a healthy body weight
- taking diabetes medications including insulin, if prescribed by your doctor
- managing stress effectively
Living with type 2 diabetes
Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and managing the condition is not easy. It is important to know that you can live a long and healthy life by keeping your blood sugar levels in the target range set by you and your health-care provider.
Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause complications. Fortunately, good diabetes care and management can prevent or delay the onset of these complications.
You can reduce your chances of developing complications such as blindness, heart disease, kidney problems, nerve damage and erectile dysfunction if you:
- keep your blood sugar within your target range
- avoid smoking
- keep your cholesterol and other blood fats within your target range
- keep your blood pressure within your target range
- take care of your feet
- regularly visit with your doctor, diabetes team, dentist and eye-care specialist
Get the support you need
Diabetes Canada is here to help provide information and support so that you can live a healthy life. A positive and realistic attitude toward your diabetes can help you manage it. Talking to other people with type 2 diabetes is a great way to learn, and to feel less alone.
Your health-care team is there to help you. Depending on your needs and the resources available in your community, your team may include a family doctor, diabetes educator (nurse and/or dietitian), endocrinologist, pharmacist, social worker, exercise physiologist, psychologist, foot-care specialist, eye-care specialist. They can answer your questions about how to manage diabetes and work with you to adjust your food plan, activity and medications.
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