An Overview and Guide to Healthy Living with Type 2 Diabetes

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MEETING YOUR GOALS An Overview and Guide to Healthy Living with Type 2 Diabetes MEETING YOUR GOALS This brochure was designed to help you understand the health goals to live a healthy lifestyle with type
MEETING YOUR GOALS An Overview and Guide to Healthy Living with Type 2 Diabetes MEETING YOUR GOALS This brochure was designed to help you understand the health goals to live a healthy lifestyle with type 2 diabetes. The better you understand type 2 diabetes, and the ways you can help manage it, the better you will be able to work with your healthcare team to meet your health goals. What Is Type 2 Diabetes? When you have type 2 diabetes, your body has a problem using the food you eat for energy. 1 After you eat, your body works to break down the sugars and starches (carbohydrates) found in the foods into glucose, a form of sugar. This sugar moves into your bloodstream. 1 Insulin, a hormone secreted by an organ called the pancreas, helps your body take this sugar and use it for energy. 1,2 When you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas isn t producing enough insulin to meet your body s needs, or your body is having trouble using the insulin it does make. 1 This means that your body has a harder time keeping your blood sugar (glucose) in a healthy balance. 3 When your blood sugar is too high for too long, it can potentially hurt your body and increase your risk for many serious health problems. 4 2 DAILY BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL Maintaining a Healthy Level Keeping track of your daily blood sugar level is one of the best ways to know how well you are managing your type 2 diabetes. 5 Your healthcare team will help determine your daily blood sugar targets based on how long you ve had type 2 diabetes, how old you are, and if you have any other health considerations. 5 Remember to write down your results each day to help you understand how what you eat can affect your blood sugar. If your blood sugar goals are off, it may be time to talk with your doctor about a plan to eat right, become more active, or make a change to your medication. 5 Your healthcare team can help you find the best plan to meet your health goals. Knowing Your Numbers For most nonpregnant adults with type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends the following blood sugar goals before and after a meal: mg/dl before a meal Less than 180 mg/dl 1-2 hours after the meal 3 LIVING WELL WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES Staying Healthy and Eating Right Having type 2 diabetes doesn t necessarily mean you can t eat the foods you love or live well. But, it does mean that you may have to play an important role, along with your healthcare team, in setting realistic goals for eating right and staying active to help you stay healthy. 6 Finding Your Healthy Weight While maintaining a healthy weight can be a challenge for anyone, when you have type 2 diabetes, being overweight or obese can often raise your chances of developing health issues. 8 Staying Active Fitting a regular amount of physical activity into your life can have a big impact on your health. 9 Staying active doesn t have to be difficult. For example, walking a few nights a week has been shown to improve blood pressure, cholesterol, stress, and depression. 10 You can also fit physical activity into your day by doing little things, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator when you can, doing chores like yard work, or walking down every aisle of the grocery store when you shop. 11 Take the time every day to write down your activities. Over time, you may find that you can fit in more activity than you realized. Remember to talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Knowing Your Body Mass Index (BMI) Your BMI is a measurement that is calculated based on your weight and height to measure your fitness level. For most people, BMI results are defined as 7 : 18.5 and lower Underweight Healthy Weight Overweight 30.0 and above Obese It s important to remember that everyone is different. Your healthcare team will work with you to determine your BMI goal. Eating Right To stay in the best health, eating right can be a recipe for success. With a well-balanced meal plan, you can make sure that you are giving your body the fuel it needs while understanding how the foods you eat affect your blood sugar. 12,13 A healthy meal plan can also help reduce your risk for complications such as heart disease and stroke, while helping you avoid weight gain. 13 Remember to work with your healthcare team to help you make healthy food choices. They can provide you with more information on the plate method, carbohydrate counting, and other meal-planning tools. 4 THE ABCs OF TYPE 2 DIABETES MANAGEMENT Knowing Your Numbers Knowing your numbers and keeping track of your health goals not only helps you manage your type 2 diabetes, but it also helps you prevent complications and feel better while living with type 2 diabetes. 14 A good place to start is with the ABCs of type 2 diabetes care. 15 Knowing Your A1C Goals A = A1C The A1C test provides you and your healthcare team with an idea of your average blood sugar over the last 2 to 3 months. 16 While it s important to test your blood sugar every day, the A1C test provides a picture of your average blood sugar control over time to let you know how well you are doing. One thing to remember is that this average blood sugar level is not the same average blood sugar level as the one you may see on your meter. Since you are more likely to check your blood sugar more often when your level is low, your meter average is likely to be lower than the average over time revealed by the A1C test. 16 Work with your doctor to decide what your target blood sugar levels should be. Knowing Your Numbers For most people, the American Diabetes Association suggests an A1C of 7%, which means an average blood sugar level of 154 mg/dl. 16 5 THE ABCs OF TYPE 2 DIABETES MANAGEMENT (cont d) Knowing Your Blood Pressure Goals B = Blood Pressure Many people with type 2 diabetes can also suffer from high blood pressure. In fact, nearly 66% of people with diabetes report having high blood pressure or having been prescribed medication to lower their blood pressure. 17 Blood pressure represents the force of blood flow inside your blood vessels. Keeping track of this information is important. If your blood pressure is too high, your heart needs to work harder. Your risk of potentially serious problems like heart disease and stroke also increases. 17 Knowing Your Numbers Blood pressure is measured as a set of two related numbers. The first number represents the pressure when your heart pushes blood through your blood vessels. This is known as systolic pressure. The second number represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart relaxes between beats. This is known as diastolic pressure. Your doctor will record these numbers as systolic over diastolic. 17 For most people, the American Diabetes Association recommends a blood pressure goal of 140/80 mm Hg. 18 If your doctor determines you have high blood pressure, it s important to remember that it most likely won t go away without treatment. Your doctor will let you know what your blood pressure should be and help you create a treatment plan that can include eating right, staying active, and taking medication if your doctor prescribes it for you. 6 THE ABCs OF TYPE 2 DIABETES MANAGEMENT (cont d) Knowing Your Cholesterol Goals C = Cholesterol Monitoring your cholesterol lets you know the amount of fat in your blood. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol can help protect your heart. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and triglycerides can raise your risk of serious problems. 19 To stay in the best health, it s important to have healthy levels of cholesterol. LDL-C is referred to as bad cholesterol because it can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. Generally, the less you have in your body, the better. HDL-C is considered good cholesterol because it helps remove cholesterol from your body. Generally, the higher your level of HDL-C, the better. Finally, there are triglycerides. Triglycerides need to be watched because higher levels in your body can raise your risk of heart attack or stroke. Knowing Your Numbers For most people, healthy lipid levels are 19 : LDL cholesterol: Less than 100 mg/dl HDL cholesterol: Higher than 40 mg/dl for men and 50 mg/dl for women is good, but an HDL-C 50 mg/dl or higher helps everyone lower their risk for heart disease. Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dl Remember that these numbers are not meant to cover everyone. Talk to your healthcare team about how often you should have your cholesterol checked and what your target numbers should be. 7 TOTAL BODY HEALTH REGULAR CHECKUPS While it is important to continue to stay active and eat right to help keep your blood sugar in a healthy range, 9,12 it s also important that you see members of your healthcare team regularly to stay in the best health. Visiting the Eye Doctor It s important that you visit an eye doctor at least once a year for a dilated eye exam. 19 Only optometrists and ophthalmologists can detect the signs of retinopathy, and only ophthalmologists can treat it. 20 If you notice any vision problems between appointments, including blurry vision, or you see spots or floaters, let your eye doctor know right away. 20 With regular checkups, you can help keep minor problems minor, and, if there is a more-serious problem developing, early treatments can often work well. 19 Visiting the Dentist Besides brushing and flossing daily, it s important to see your dentist at least every 6 months to keep your teeth and gums in the best health. 21,22 Visiting the Podiatrist (Foot Doctor) Along with taking good care of your feet by keeping them clean, dry, and protected every day, it s important to make sure you have your feet checked at least once a year. 23 Your doctor may also recommend you visit a podiatrist to help keep your feet in the best health. A podiatrist is a specialist trained to treat feet and problems of the lower legs. 24 8 TOTAL BODY HEALTH WORKING WITH TEAM MEMBERS Working With a Dietitian To help you stay at a healthy weight, you may want to work with a dietitian to develop a meal plan that works best for you. A dietitian is an expert trained in proper nutrition who can help you learn more about the foods you eat and how they can affect your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. 24,25 Working With an Exercise Physiologist An exercise physiologist is someone trained in the scientific basis of exercise. 24 Staying active is important when you have type 2 diabetes to help you stay at a healthy weight. Regular physical activity can also help lower your blood sugar and help your body better use insulin. Exercise plays a major role in your type 2 diabetes care, no matter which type of diabetes you have. Exercise can help lower blood sugar and blood fat levels, help your body better use insulin, reduce stress, and help you stay at a healthy weight. 9,24 Before you begin any exercise program, remember to work closely with the members of your healthcare team to find the right program for you. Taking Your Medications If your doctor has prescribed medication to help support your type 2 diabetes control, remember to take it as prescribed. It s important that you also keep track of any other medications you are taking, even if they are just over the counter, and let your healthcare team know. 26 9
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