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Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

So you've been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes - what happens now?  First things first: getting your blood glucose levels under control and alleviating any symptoms that you may be experiencing.  That means you'll need to check your glucose level regularly using a glucometer.  A glucometer is a device which uses a small needle, called a lancet, to prick your finger - usually before meals and just prior to bed.  You'll then smear a droplet of blood onto a special test strip, and place the strip into the glucometer, which will read your glucose level in under a minute.  It's very important to keep a close eye on your glucose level, because it's a great indicator of how well your body is responding to any treatments or other corrective measures you're taking.  Discuss an appropriate testing schedule, and what to do in case of high glucose levels, with your doctor.

Next, it's time to rethink your approach to diet and exercise and make smarter choices.  In many cases of type 2 diabetes, regular exercise and a healthful diet (limiting fat and sodium) can eliminate the need for medication and keep the disease under control - not to mention give you all the other benefits a healthy lifestyle affords!  But be aware: people with type 2 diabetes must take a few special precautions when exercising.  Before you begin any exercise regime, consult your doctor.  Once you've started, be sure to closely monitor your glucose levels both before and after exercising.  Carry a carbohydrate snack, such as a packet of peanut-butter crackers, to eat in case your levels get too low.  If your levels fluctuate drastically with exercise, you may need to adjust your routine and/or your diet. 

If your type 2 diabetes cannot be sufficiently controlled with diet and exercise alone, your doctor will prescribe medication for you.  There are several different kinds, all of which help regulate your body's responses to its natural insulin and glucose levels, and all ingested orally (by mouth).  If your blood glucose levels are still worrisome despite these medications, or if you've had an unfavorable reaction to them, your doctor will prescribe insulin.  Insulin can only be taken in the form of an insulin injection, and must be administered anywhere from one to four times each day.

Regardless of what treatments you use to control your type 2 diabetes, it is crucial that you seek continuing care.  Type 2 diabetics should be thoroughly evaluated by a doctor every three months.  These three-month evaluations should include a blood pressure check, examination of the feet and skin, eye and neurological examinations, and a glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test.  The HbA1c test measures how much glucose is sticking to your cells; the higher the HbA1c, the greater the risk for long-term complications.  In addition to these tests, you should also have several others performed on an annual basis, according to the National Institute of Health.  These include a urine test for protein; cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides; a dilated retinal exam; and a serum creatinine test.

Taking care of your health is necessary for everyone, but especially so if you suffer from type 2 diabetes.  You have the power to take control over your disease, so take advantage of it!  Your body will thank you!

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