What Are the Most Important Things I Need to Know About Type 2 Diabetes?

Greetings Healthy Boilers,

As National Diabetes Awareness Month came to an end on November 30, the Center for Healthy Living (CHL) on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus would like to remind you that diabetes awareness is a year-long need. With that in mind, here are some very important basics to consider when it comes to type 2 diabetes management. We encourage you to discuss these topics with your primary care provider or a provider, health coach, dietitian or pharmacist at the CHL.  All of these topics are also covered in-depth during the CHL’s eight-week “Taking Control of My Diabetes” course – which is targeted at individuals with type 2 diabetes as well as pre-diabetes. The course will be offered to Purdue employees throughout 2020. 

Medication – Some type 2 diabetes’ diagnoses will result in prescribed oral medication or insulin injections. As with all medication, it is very important to make sure your health care professional knows all the medications you are taking and that you strictly follow your health care professional’s guidance. 

Exercise – Scientists believe the major contributors to the insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes are excess weight and physical inactivity. This makes regular physical activity an important component of your disease management program. Here’s why: muscle does a better job of absorbing insulin than fat does, so the combination of losing excess fat and gaining muscle through regular physical activity makes it easier for your body to manage its blood glucose. Also, regular physical exercise can help you lower your blood pressure which is one of the key goals to effective management.

Nutrition – Living with type 2 diabetes means careful management of your diet. There is a lot of great guidance available to you as you learn to better manage the food and beverages you consume. For instance, appointments with Megan Shidler, registered dietitian at the CHL, are at no charge to benefits-eligible employees and their dependents covered on a Purdue health plan. Reviewing information online from health-related websites – such as the ones listed below – could also be useful.

Lifestyle – It is very important to do four things every day to help you manage your type 2 diabetes:

  1. Follow the meal plan recommended by your health care professional.
  2. Be physically active.
  3. Take your type 2 diabetes medicines every day as directed by your health care professional.
  4. Check your blood glucose as recommended. For those living with type 2 diabetes, the American DiabetesAssociation recommends aiming for a blood sugar level between 70 to 130 mg/dl before meals and less than 180 mg/dl one to two hours after a meal. To keep your blood sugar within this range, follow a healthy, well-rounded diet and eat meals and snacks on a consistent schedule. Having your blood sugars in this range can help lower your chances of developing serious health conditions related to type 2 diabetes.   

Daily management of your type 2 diabetes is critically important because after many years of living with the disease, serious problems with your eyes, kidneys, nerves, gums and teeth are possible. However, the most serious problem caused by diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) is heart disease. Heart disease (i.e., cardiovascular disease) is the leading cause of early death among people living with diabetes. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely than people without diabetes to die of heart disease or experience a stroke. Also, about 70 percent of people with diabetes have high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. 

You may not be directly impacted by a diagnosis of diabetes, but there is a good chance someone in your life is, considering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports:

  • More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and one in four don’t know they have it.
  • More than 84 million US adults — over a third — have prediabetes, and 90 percent of them don’t know they have it.
  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5 percent.

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes is a great motivator to take care of the basic health needs outlined above and to continue the conversation with your healthcare team. 

Be Kind. Be Well. Boiler Up!




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