There isn't a cure for type 2 diabetes but it can be controlled. Some people can control their condition with lifestyle changes alone. Others need to take medicines or use insulin injections.
By making the following lifestyle changes, you can help control your blood glucose levels.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet with regular meals, three times a day. Include carbohydrates, such as pasta or potatoes in each meal.
- Try to do at least half an hour of moderate physical activity on at least three days a week. This will help you to stay a healthy weight and control your blood glucose levels.
- Only drink alcohol in moderation and stick within the recommended limits.
- If you smoke, give up. Smoking is unhealthy for everyone, but it's especially important to stop if you have diabetes because you already have an increased risk of developing circulatory problems and cardiovascular disease.
If lifestyle changes alone don’t keep your blood glucose levels under control, you may be prescribed medicines. Some examples are listed below.
- Metformin works by reducing the amount of glucose that gets released into your bloodstream from your liver. It also improves the way glucose is used by your muscles.
- Gliclazide, glipizide, glimepiride and tolbutamide help your pancreas to produce more insulin.
- Repaglinide and nateglinide also help your pancreas to produce more insulin, but work more quickly and last for a shorter time.
- Acarbose lowers your blood glucose by slowing down the rate at which some carbohydrates are absorbed by your body.
- Pioglitazone reduces your body's resistance to insulin.
- Sitagliptin , saxagliptin and vildagliptin help your body to produce more insulin at mealtimes.
- These medicines are usually taken between one and three times a day.
You may be prescribed other medicines such as exenatide or liraglutide. These medicines are given by injection and work by helping your body to make more insulin when it’s needed. They can also reduce your appetite and help you lose weight.
If lifestyle changes and medicines can’t keep your blood glucose levels under control, you may need to have insulin injections as well as, or instead of, tablets.
You will usually inject yourself with insulin once or twice a day, using either a small needle or a pen-type syringe with replaceable cartridges. There are several different types of insulin that work at different rates and for different lengths of time. Ask your doctor for advice on which type is best for you.
If you have insulin injections, you will need to monitor your blood glucose levels with a home test kit. This involves taking a pinprick of blood from your finger and putting a drop on a testing strip. A meter will read the result automatically. Your doctor will show you how to monitor your blood glucose levels and tell you how often you need to check it.
Availability and use of different treatments may vary from country to country. Ask your doctor for advice on your treatment options.