Careful management of type 2 diabetes can reduce your risk of serious — even life-threatening — complications. Consider these tips:
July 24, 2014
- Commit to managing your diabetes. Learn all you can about type 2 diabetes. Make healthy eating and physical activity part of your daily routine. Establish a relationship with a diabetes educator, and ask your diabetes treatment team for help when you need it.
- Identify yourself. Wear a tag or bracelet that says you have diabetes.
- Schedule a yearly physical exam and regular eye exams. Your regular diabetes checkups aren't meant to replace regular physicals or routine eye exams. During the physical, your doctor will look for any diabetes-related complications, as well as screen for other medical problems. Your eye care specialist will check for signs of retinal damage, cataracts and glaucoma.
- Keep your immunizations up to date. High blood sugar can weaken your immune system. Get a flu shot every year, and your doctor will likely recommend the pneumonia vaccine, as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends hepatitis B vaccination if you haven't previously been vaccinated against hepatitis B and you're an adult age 19 to 59 with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The CDC advises vaccination as soon as possible after diagnosis with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. If you are age 60 or older, have diabetes and haven't previously received the vaccine, talk to your doctor about whether it's right for you.
- Take care of your teeth. Diabetes may leave you prone to more-serious gum infections. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss your teeth once a day, and schedule regular dental exams. Consult your dentist right away if your gums bleed or look red or swollen.
- Pay attention to your feet. Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water. Dry them gently, especially between the toes, and moisturize with lotion. Check your feet every day for blisters, cuts, sores, redness and swelling. Consult your doctor if you have a sore or other foot problem that isn't healing.
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can go a long way toward controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol. Medication may be needed, too.
- If you smoke or use other types of tobacco, ask your doctor to help you quit. Smoking increases your risk of various diabetes complications. Talk to your doctor about ways to stop smoking or to stop using other types of tobacco.
If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly. Alcohol, as well as drink mixers, can cause either high or low blood sugar, depending on how much you drink and if you eat at the same time. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation and always with a meal.
The recommendation is no more than one drink daily for women, no more than two drinks daily for men age 65 and younger, and one drink a day for men over 65. If you're on insulin or other medications that lower your blood sugar, check your blood sugar before you go to sleep to make sure you're at a safe level.
- Diabetes mellitus (DM). The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine_and_metabolic_disorders/diabetes_mellitus_and_disorders_of_carbohydrate_metabolism/diabetes_mellitus_dm.html. Accessed April 29, 2014.
- Papadakis MA, ed., et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2014. 53rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed April 27, 2014.
- Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2014. Diabetes Care. 2014;37:s14.
- What are my options? American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/oral-medications/what-are-my-options.html. Accessed May 10, 2014.
- McKulloch DK. Initial management of blood glucose in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 10, 2014.
- Hyperglycemia (High blood glucose). American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/hyperglycemia.html. Accessed April 29, 2014.
- DKA (ketoacidosis) and ketones. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/ketoacidosis-dka.html. Accessed April 29, 2014.
- Natural medicines in the clinical management of diabetes. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed May 10, 2014.
- Gardner DG, et al. Greenspan's Basic & Clinical Endocrinology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=13. Accessed April 27, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.