Diet and Exercise
In most cases, type 2 diabetes treatment begins with weight reduction through diet and exercise. A healthy diet for a person with diabetes is:
A daily multivitamin is recommended for most people with diabetes.
For some people, type 2 diabetes can be controlled just with diet and exercise. Even if medications are required, diet and exercise remain important for controlling diabetes.
The medications used for type 2 diabetes include pills and injections. The pills work in many different ways. They include medications that:
Because type 2 diabetes develops when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin to overcome insulin resistance, about one of three people with this disease take some form of insulin injection.
In advanced type 2 diabetes, or for people who want to tightly control glucose levels, insulin may be needed more than once per day and in higher doses.
Treatment plans that include both very long-acting insulin and very short-acting insulin are frequently the most successful for controlling blood sugar. Very short-acting insulin is used with meals, to help control the spike in blood sugar levels that occur with a meal. If a person does not eat on a regular schedule, very short-acting insulin can be particularly helpful.
Treatment Side Effects
Medications used to treat type 2 diabetes can have side effects. These vary by medication. Side effects may include:
Fortunately, these side effects are uncommon, so the benefits of treatment far outweigh the risks.
In addition to medicines that help control the level of blood sugar, people with type 2 diabetes often take other medicines that reduce the risk or to slow the onset of the complications of diabetes. These include medications that:
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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.
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