Healthy Living

What It's Like to Live with Type 2 Diabetes

What It's Like to Live with Type 2 Diabetes

Key Takeaways

  • A type 2 diabetes patient needs to shift from an unhealthy diet and adapt to a much healthier diet. 
  • People with type 2 diabetes must have blood sugar testing regularly even when they are not taking insulin. A patient must check his or her blood sugar levels one to two times a day.
  • Diabetes patients are more likely to get feet problems. Thus, it is important to take good care of the feet. 

Adapting to a healthier diet

A type 2 diabetes patient needs to shift from an unhealthy diet and adapt to a much healthier diet. The recommended diet for type 2 diabetes patients includes three healthy daily meals. A type 2 diabetes patient is at risk of developing cardiovascular problems, so the diet must avoid high-fat foods. Avoiding high-fat foods will also help you reduce a few pounds, which is healthy as losing weight may lessen your medical needs.

Type 2 diabetes patients also need to remember the following:

  • Unsaturated fats are healthier than saturated fats.
  • Avoid foods with high trans fat.
  • Eat less sodium.
  • Limit alcohol intake as it can significantly affect blood sugar levels. It can also trigger problems in nerve damage, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight. Adult women with type 2 diabetes should limit their alcohol intake to 1 glass of alcohol per day with a meal. Adult men with type 2 diabetes should limit their alcohol intake to 2 glasses of alcohol per day with a meal. Women with type 2 diabetes who are pregnant must not drink alcohol at all. (All pregnant women should not drink alcohol.)

Living an active lifestyle

Like a healthy diet, a healthy and active lifestyle that includes regular exercise will help reduce cardiovascular risks and will help manage a person's weight and blood sugar levels. A person with type 2 diabetes must include at least one light physical activity in his or her routine on a daily basis. The exercise does not necessarily have to be heavy and strenuous. A light physical activity, such as stretching or aerobic exercise, will do. Even simple day-to-day activities such as walking, going up and down the stairs, or even vacuuming can make a significant difference. It is not necessary to develop an intense weight lifting regimen and go to the gym every day.

While it depends on the type of exercise and the medication, a type 2 diabetes patient may experience low blood sugar during exercises, so it is ideal to carry medical kits just in case. It is also important for a patient to always drink water during the exercise; that is before, during, and after the activity. This will help stabilize the blood sugar levels.

Keeping blood sugar tabs

People with type 2 diabetes must have blood sugar testing regularly even when they are not taking insulin. A patient must check his or her blood sugar levels one to two times a day.

Experts recommend blood sugar levels at:

  • 80-130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180mg/dL one to two hours after meals for home blood sugar testing.
  • 60-99 mg/dL before meals and 100-129 mg/dL one to two hours after meals for pregnant women.

Doctors also encourage a regular glucose monitoring. Keeping a record of blood sugar reports can help in analyzing how the treatment is working in a type 2 diabetes patient. The record will also help doctors see whether or not a patient’s medication needs changes over time.

Taking medication

Not all type 2 diabetes patients are required to take medication. If a doctor does recommend medication for a patient, the latter will involve taking pills and administering injections on a daily basis. Many people ask what it's like to live with type 2 diabetes. It’s tough, especially when medication becomes a part of everyday life. Nevertheless, the prescribed medication will help lower blood sugar levels, assist the body in producing insulin, and will help in using the produced insulin normally and more properly.

Three of four type 2 diabetes patients, in average, will need to take insulin injections. More and more people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at a young age. These people may be living with the disease in the earlier parts of their lives, but the early diagnosis and the proper medication helps in outliving the disease.

Checking your feet daily

As diabetes patients are at risk of developing skin and feet problems, it is important for them to have a regular checkup.

It is very important for type 2 diabetes patients to check their skin or their feet for symptoms of problems on a daily basis. This checkup must also involve a thorough inspection as it may be difficult for patients to feel the symptoms with their nerves damaged as one of the effects of the disease. This is because high levels of blood sugar can damage the nerves. The symptoms of damaged nerves involve less sweating and dry or cracked skin. Damaged skin is more likely to develop in a worse state with diabetes.

How to care for your feet

As said, diabetes patients are more likely to get feet problems. Thus, it is important to take good care of the feet. If you are a type 2 diabetes patient, here is the proper way of taking care of your feet:

  1. Inspect at least once a day: Inspecting your feet should be a part of your everyday routine. Look at all parts of your feet, especially your toes as this is the area that needs the most foot care.
  2. Wash your feet daily: There is a proper way to wash your feet. Get instructions from the internet and post them in your bathroom. Follow the steps instructed. Make sure to dry your feet before putting on your socks and shoes. Wear soft, comfortable shoes that fit well to your foot.
  3. Protect your feet from injury: Before putting on your shoes, check the shoes that you are going to wear. Make sure they have no rough spots or there are no sharp objects inside.
  4. Visit your doctor: Every time you visit your doctor, ask for a professional feet checkup. Also, if you have noticed any problems during your checkup at home, inform your doctor immediately.
  5. Get early treatment: After informing your doctor about your problems, you may be referred to a professional orthopedic surgeon or a podiatrist who can help you with the immediate treatment as early as possible.

About type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a form of diabetes in which the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin, or the body doesn’t use the insulin the pancreas makes properly. This results in the buildup of glucose (sugar) in the body.

Your body gets glucose from the food you eat. The glucose in your body must be used properly as energy so that it will not buildup in your body. In order to use the glucose in your body properly, your body must receive insulin, a hormone that helps the body control the level of glucose in your blood.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease, but with proper management, it’s not fatal. With proper medication and a healthy lifestyle, type 2 diabetes patients can live their usual, normal lives. Diabetes management has become bearable for people with the help of medical research, drug options, home glucose monitoring advancement, and earlier diagnosis. Indeed, type 2 diabetes has become more controllable. However, reverting or recovering from the disease is not necessarily super easy. People with the disease know what it's like to live with type 2 diabetes. In this article, we will go through the daily life adjustments of a diabetes patient to know just what it's like to live with type 2 diabetes.

Final thoughts

So now you have an idea of what it's like to live with type 2 diabetes. Take care of your own health for prevention of any diseases.