Type 2 diabetes affects more than 3 million people in the UK alone. Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1 diabetes, especially in adults. This type of diabetes occurs when the body cannot control the blood sugar levels, causing a lack of insulin, or insulin that isn’t as effective as it should be.
People with type 2 diabetes have too much glucose in their blood and often, they need to take medication such as Metformin to regulate the blood sugar.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
• Urinating very regularly (especially during the night)
• Increased thirst
• Increased hunger (in particular, after eating)
• Lethargy and tiredness
• Slow healing wounds
• Dry mouth
• Unexplained weight loss
• Blurred vision
It is better to diagnose type 2 diabetes as soon as possible, as it can contribute to a number of complications. Once it has been diagnosed, type 2 diabetes can easily be controlled. Many people with type 2 diabetes are able to enjoy a very active, healthy and long life, but there are certain considerations that must be taken. Here are 12 tips for people with type 2 diabetes to live their life to the fullest:
1. Keep an eye on your BMI
Being overweight is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and often, losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle can really help to ease the symptoms. Diabetes patients who are overweight should try to lose weight in order to maintain a healthy BMI. The best way to lose weight is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to stick to a regular exercise regime. Your local diabetes clinics will be able to provide you with more information on how to stay healthy whilst losing weight.
2. Avoid smoking
Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease and strokes, and smoking increases the risk of these very serious health problems. Your GP will be able to give you help with regards to stopping smoking. There are support groups and packs available to help you cut down and quit for good. Many people find it easier to give up with help and support from other people.
3. Check your feet
Diabetes increases the risk of nerve-damage to the feet, so check your feet often and visit your doctor if you notice any changes in the look or feel of the skin, you have sores that take a long time to heal or your feet feel swollen.
4. Adapt your diet
Healthy eating is really important if you have diabetes, so watch what you eat and follow advice from your doctors and nutritionists. People with type 2 diabetes need to take extra care about consuming sugar, salt and fat. You don’t need to cut out treats completely, but you should only eat sugary foods occasionally and it’s imperative that you monitor your sugar intake very carefully.
It’s really important to get active if you have diabetes. This will help you to build muscle strength and reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes. Ideally, you should aim for at least 5 30 minute sessions of exercise every week. This can include anything from strolling to the shops to hitting the gym or doing a kickboxing or dance class.
6. Keep up to date with your health checks
Patients with diabetes are assigned to a care team and regular appointments are recommended to enable the team to monitor your health and make sure you’re on track with your medication, as well as ensuring your symptoms are under control and that you have all the information you need to make healthy lifestyle choices.
7. Limit your alcohol intake
Drinking alcohol excessively can increase the risk of many health problems, so try to make sure that you cut down and make sure you stick to the recommended daily guidelines. It’s also important to consider nutrition when you drink, as many alcoholic beverages contain high amounts of sugar.
8. Keep up to date with eye checks
Diabetes increases the risk of damage to the eye, so regular eye checks are recommended. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the retina is damaged, but if diabetes is controlled effectively, the risk of this condition is reduced. Keep up with your eye tests and see your optician immediately if you notice any changes to your vision.
9. Always remember to take your medication
If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s very likely that you’ll be instructed to take medication such as Metformin. This will enable your body to control your blood sugar. It’s essential that you follow the instructions given by your doctor.
10. Ask for help
If you’re not sure about your new diet, have questions about type 2 diabetes or are worried about your health, ask for help. Your GP is there to help you and will answer any questions you may have about the condition.