Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body doesn’t use insulin properly. This causes blood sugar levels to rise, which can lead to other health problems. Here’s what to know if you receive a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

If you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor may prescribe one or more treatments to help manage your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of complications.

Read on to learn more about some of the most common treatments and recommendations for people who have just received a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines overweight as weighing more than is typical for a person’s height.

Many people who receive a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes have overweight. In these situations, doctors usually recommend weight loss as one aspect of an overall treatment plan.

For many people with type 2 diabetes, losing 5-10%of body weight may help lower blood sugar levels, reducing the need for diabetes medications.

Research suggests that weight loss may also reduce your risk of heart disease, which is more common in people with type 2 diabetes than in the general population.

Your doctor may encourage you to cut calories from your snacks and meals and advise you to get more exercise to promote weight loss.

Sometimes, a doctor might recommend weight-loss surgery, also known as metabolic or bariatric surgery.

Your doctor might recommend changes to your diet to help manage your blood sugar levels and weight. Eating a well-balanced diet is also important for your overall health.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to eating a diet that benefits type 2 diabetes.

In general, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends:

  • eating a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats
  • evenly spacing your meals throughout the day
  • not skipping meals if you’re on the medications that can cause blood sugar to go too low
  • not eating too much

If you need help changing your diet, talk with your doctor. They may refer you to a registered dietitian who can help you develop an eating plan to help improve or manage your diabetes.

Your doctor might also encourage you to try to exercise more often to help manage your blood sugar levels, your weight, and your risk for complications from type 2 diabetes.

According to the ADA, most adults with type 2 diabetes should:

  • get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise per week, spread over multiple days
  • complete two to three sessions of resistance exercise or strength training per week spread over non-consecutive days
  • try to limit the amount of time you spend engaging in sedentary behaviors
  • try not to go more than 2 days in a row without physical activity

Your doctor might encourage you to set different physical activity targets depending on your health. Sometimes, they might advise you to avoid certain activities.

To help you develop an exercise plan that’s safe for you, your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist.

You might be able to manage your blood sugar with lifestyle changes alone.

However, over time, many people with type 2 diabetes need medication to manage the condition.

Depending on your health history and needs, your doctor might prescribe one or more of the following:

Typically, your doctor will start by prescribing oral medication. Over time, you might need to add insulin or other injectable drugs to your treatment plan.

To learn more about your medication options, talk with your doctor. They can help you weigh the potential benefits and risks of different medications.

The main goal of diabetes treatment is to keep your blood sugar levels in target range.

If your blood sugar falls too low or rises too high, it can cause health problems.

Your doctor will order blood work on a regular basis to help monitor your blood sugar levels. They can use a test known as the A1C test to assess your average blood sugar levels.

They might also advise you to monitor your blood sugar levels at home.

To check your blood sugar at home, you can prick your fingertip and test your blood with a blood glucose monitor. Or, you can invest in a continuous glucose monitor, which continuously tracks your blood sugar levels using a small sensor that you insert under your skin.

Below are some commonly asked questions about newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes treatment.

What is the first-line treatment for newly diagnosed diabetes?

If you have Type 2 diabetes, you may have to use insulin or take tablets to treat your diabetes. However, your doctor may recommend eating a diabetes-friendly diet and doing more exercise as the first line of treatment.

Indeed, if you have overweight, there is strong evidence that losing weight can put your type 2 diabetes into remission.

What is the life expectancy of someone with type 2 diabetes?

According to a recent study, the earlier a person receives a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, the higher their risk of dying prematurely from the condition.

Using death rates from the United States, a person age 50 years with type 2 diabetes died on average 14 years earlier when diagnosed age 30, 10 years earlier when diagnosed age 40, and 6 years earlier when diagnosed age 50 than a person without diabetes.

What do you say to a person who receives a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes?

People may vary in how they respond to a diabetes diagnosis. Some may not like to talk about their worries while others may seek support and advice from their support network.

Simply letting them know you’re there for them and will listen to their concerns when they are ready is a big help. Also, asking someone ‘how they feel’ or if they want to talk about something can be a valuable place to start.

To manage type 2 diabetes, your doctor may encourage you to make changes to your diet, exercise routine, or other lifestyle habits. They might prescribe one or more medications. They will also ask you to schedule regular checkups and blood tests.

Let your doctor know if you notice changes in your symptoms or blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes can change over time, and your doctor may adjust your treatment plan to meet your evolving needs.

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