There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but the condition can be controlled by monitoring your blood sugar, making lifestyle changes, and, if recommended by your doctor, taking prescription medications. This can help reduce or even prevent complications from the disease.

Monitor Blood Sugar

If your primary care physician recommends it, you will need to monitor and record your blood sugar (often several times per day).

Factors that influence blood glucose levels include:

  • what you eat
  • how active you are
  • the medications you take
  • hormonal fluctuations
  • stress level

A careful log of blood sugar values throughout the day, that also indicates at what time you had a meal, will help your doctor create a medication plan that will be successful in controlling your blood sugar levels. The more information, the better—try to keep close notes on your blood sugar and food intake to have the best chances of getting your blood sugars under control.

Read more about blood sugar monitoring tools and strategies.

Lifestyle Changes

Behavioral changes including eating a healthy diet and being physically active will significantly improve type 2 diabetes symptoms and complications and, in some cases, can reduce the need to use medication altogether.

Diet

Eat a low-fat, low-calorie diet rich in protein, vegetables, and whole grains, while avoiding foods high in sugars.

Read more about eating right for diabetes.

Exercise

Exercise transports glucose to cells where it is turned into energy and heightens your body's sensitivity to insulin. Staying physically active, such as working out for 30 minutes most days of the week, also helps by sustaining a healthy weight. Research shows that an exercise program that combines aerobics and weightlifting significantly lowers blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. 

Learn how to start a diabetes exercise plan.

Type 2 Diabetes Drugs

Some people with type 2 diabetes are able to manage the disease by eating healthfully and exercising, while others also require prescription medications to manage the condition. These drugs include diabetes medications that lower blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity. In some cases, injections of insulin may be required because the body does not make enough, or any, insulin on its own.

Learn more about drugs to treat type 2 diabetes.