Living with type 2 diabetes
There are many ways to improve your health and help keep your diabetes well controlled. Keeping blood glucose (sugar) levels as close as possible to the normal range helps to slow down the progression of the condition and lowers your risk of developing diabetes complications.
But it’s not just about glucose. If you have diabetes, managing your blood pressure and cholesterol are just as important.
Diabetes can affect your body and your health in different ways. Keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol at your recommended target levels, making healthy lifestyle changes and using your medicines can help you reduce the risk of complications, like eye and kidney damage, heart attack and stroke.
Read our booklet Keeping track of your diabetes: It’s not just about glucose to find out:
- what your glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol targets are
- which health checks you can have and how often to have them
- how medicines and a healthy lifestyle can help.
A healthy lifestyle is vital for everyone with diabetes
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and healthy glucose levels are the key for people living with diabetes. It’s important to:
Read or download our fact sheet Managing type 2 diabetes — your lifestyle to find out simple but effective lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health and help manage your diabetes, as well as helping to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels as close as possible to your target range.
When you are first diagnosed
Health professionals recommend that if you have just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and your glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) level is 53 mmol/mol (7%) or less, that you eat a healthy, balanced diet and be physically active for 6 weeks or more, to see if this controls your diabetes without needing diabetes medicines. If your blood glucose levels are high (HbA1c more than 53 mmol/mol or 7%), or if you have severe diabetes symptoms, you may be prescribed medicines as soon as type 2 diabetes is diagnosed.
Who else can help?
Changing your lifestyle is not easy. A health professional, diabetes educator, or exercise physiologist can provide guidance and support. Information and resources are also available from consumer organisations, such as Diabetes Australia. Find out about who else can help you.
People with diabetes who need ongoing care from their doctor and at least two other health or care providers may be eligible for a Medical Benefits Scheme-subsidised Team Care Arrangements (TCAs) service. Ask your doctor for more information about this scheme.
The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) can provide diabetes-related blood glucose monitoring equipment at subsidised prices, and provides information and support on a range of topics. It’s free to register.
For more information, read or download our fact sheet Managing type 2 diabetes — it’s not just about glucose.
NPS has also produced a series of short videos to help people with type 2 diabetes manage their condition.
- Diabetes Australia; Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Diabetes management in general practice: Guidelines for type 2 diabetes. 17th edn, 2011/2012. (www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/en/For-Health-Professionals/Diabetes-National-Guidelines/#National-Evidence-Based-Guidelines-for-the-Management-of-Type-2-Diabetes)
- Type 2 diabetes: priorities and targets. NPS NEWS (www.nps.org.au/health_professionals/publications/nps_news/current/type_2_diabetes_priorities_targets)
- Yudkin JS, Richter B, Gale EA. Intensified glucose lowering in type 2 diabetes: time for a reappraisal. Diabetologia 2010;53:2079–85.
- Turnbull FM, Abraira C, Anderson RJ, et al. Intensive glucose control and macrovascular outcomes in type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia 2009;52:2288–98.
- Kearney PM, Blackwell L, Collins R, et al. Efficacy of cholesterol-lowering therapy in 18,686 people with diabetes in 14 randomised trials of statins: a meta-analysis. Lancet 2008;371:117–25.
- Law MR, Morris JK, Wald NJ. Use of blood pressure lowering drugs in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: meta-analysis of 147 randomised trials in the context of expectations from prospective epidemiological studies. BMJ 2009;338:b1665.