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Type 2 Diabetes Toolbox

Your Tools for Diabetes Management

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Updated January 26, 2010

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If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, then you know how overwhelming it can feel at first. there's a lot to do and a lot to learn about diabetes management. Since there is so much to keep track of, managing diabetes can seem to take up all of your time. Diabetes is unique, because people are literally on their own for much of their care. This toolbox will provide you with a good place to start as you learn about managing your diabetes.

Diagnosis

Type 2 diabetes is not always easy to diagnose. Sometimes there are no noticeable symptoms. Often the diagnosis is made during an annual physical or checkup. There are two tests that are usually ordered by the doctor: the Fasting Plasma Glucose test and the Oral Glucose Tolerance test.

Medications

If you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, your doctor will usually prescribe an oral medication to help lower your blood glucose levels. There are many different classes of drugs, and they all work in different ways to control blood sugar.

Blood Glucose Monitoring

Checking your blood glucose levels several times a day helps you to know how your body reacts to medications, food and exercise. Keep records of your levels. It will help you to understand how your food choices, medications and activity level affect your blood glucose levels.

A1c Test

The A1c is a blood test that is ordered every 2 or 3 months. It tells you what your overall blood glucose level is. It takes an average of all your daily levels and gives you the big picture of how well controlled your levels are.

Nutrition

Many people think that if you have diabetes, you can no longer eat foods with sugar in them. That's not exactly true. An occasional dessert or sweet can still be part of a healthful diet. Type 2 diabetes usually requires weight loss. A diet that focuses on increased consumption of lean protein, vegetables, fruits, fiber and healthful fats will help you lose weight and keep it off.

Exercise

Regular exercise is a very important part of diabetes management. It helps you lose weight and keep it off. Exercise also has a direct affect on blood glucose and can lower your levels during activity.

Managing Emergencies

Hypoglycemia (low-blood sugar) is sometimes caused by some diabetes medications. Learn the signs of hypoglycemia so that you can be prepared to take action if it happens to you.

Hyperglycemia (high-blood glucose) happens when there is too much glucose in the blood. If medications are ineffective or diet isn't controlled, blood sugar can rise. When someone is sick, the stress of illness can also make blood sugar high. Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur if blood sugar gets too high. This is a medical emergency, and there is a risk of coma and death. Learn the warning signs and find out what to do.

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