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Top tips for managing your type 2 diabetes

Have you got type 2 diabetes? A few lifestyle tweaks here and there can help you keep your blood sugar steady and reduce your risk of complications. Leading a healthy lifestyle helps protect you against a strokeheart attack and circulation problems.

Type 2 diabetes
Dr Vanderpump talks about type 2 diabetes

Details

  • Tip 1: Set reminders for your medicine Tip 1: Set reminders for your medicine

    Forgetting to take your medicine can happen from time to time, but your medicine is key to managing your diabetes. If you find you’re forgetting, try putting it somewhere you’ll see it every day, or set a daily alarm. There are some good smartphone apps that can also help you to remember to take your medicine. Your pharmacist or doctor will have some ideas to help you stay on track too.

  • Tip 2: Keep the weight off Tip 2: Keep the weight off

    Are you a healthy weight? Use our body mass index (BMI) calculator to check. Losing weight doesn’t mean a crash diet – with a mixture of healthy eating and exercise, you can shed excess fat as well as keep your heart healthy. Check out our page on losing weight safely, and talk to your doctor or a dietitian for advice if you’re at all unsure.

  • Tip 3: Eat the right foods Tip 3: Eat the right foods

    Diabetes doesn’t have to mean cutting out your favourite foods – it's all about balance. What you eat affects your blood sugar. Carbohydrates in particular can make your blood sugar shoot up. So, keep an eye on what you eat and drink, and plan ahead. Carbohydrate counting and using a glycaemic index (GI) can be useful.

    Infographic showing glycaemic index
  • Worried about diabetes?

    Get a picture of your current health and potential future health risks with a Bupa health assessment. Find out more today.

  • Tip 4: Get your blood pumping Tip 4: Get your blood pumping

    Exercise is especially important if you have diabetes. Lead an active lifestyle and exercise on a regular basis, ideally three or four times a week. It doesn’t have to be going to the gym or heading out for a run. Housework, gardening and walking the dog all count. Just be sure to pick up the pace so your heart is beating faster, you’re breathing harder and you feel warmer. Also, try to break up long periods spent sitting down. With so many ways to get active, why not get started today?

  • Tip 5: Quit smoking Tip 5: Quit smoking

    Smoking is, quite simply, bad for your health, whether you have diabetes or not. But if you do have diabetes, the health consequences of smoking can be even more severe. Quitting can be hard, but free help is at hand from your GP, pharmacist and local cessation group. Set yourself up for success by listing reasons to quit, choosing a stress-free time to stop and preparing well for the first few days. Check out our page on ways to stop smoking, as well as our cost of smoking calculator, for advice and motivation.

  • Tip 6: Touch your toes Tip 6: Touch your toes

    If you have diabetes, there’s a one-in-ten chance you’ll get foot problems linked to nerve damage. Diabetes can affect your nervous system so your feet can sometimes lose the sensation of feeling. Because of this, you may not notice a foot problem until it’s fully developed. Check your feet and toes (including between them) every day so you can spot any changes early. Also, make sure your shoes fit properly, and check for small stones or other debris in your shoes to reduce the risk of damage to your feet.

  • Tip 7: Download an app Tip 7: Download an app

    Do you own a smartphone? Why not download an app to help you manage your diabetes? Whether you want some help managing your diet or tracking your blood sugar levels, there are many apps available for you to try.

  • Tip 8: Don’t do it alone Tip 8: Don’t do it alone

    Finding out you have diabetes can stir up many emotions. Talking to others will help – whether it’s your GP, family, friends or other people with diabetes. Over time, you’ll feel more confident about managing your condition as you learn more.

    Let people around you know if you’re at risk of having hypoglycaemic episodes (hypos) and what they can do to help if it does happen.

    Want more tips and advice?

    Join Bupa and Diabetes UK’s online learning and support programme

  • Other helpful websites Other helpful websites

    Further information

    Sources

    • What’s your healthy weight? Diabetes UK. www.diabetes.org.uk, accessed 19 November 2015
    • What can I eat? Type 2 diagnosis. Diabetes UK. www.diabetes.org.uk, accessed 19 November 2015
    • Diabetes type 2. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries. www.cks.nice.org.uk, published October 2015
    • Cardiovascular disease. Diabetes UK. www.diabetes.org.uk, accessed 19 November 2015
    • Cramer JA. A systematic review of adherence with medications for diabetes. Diabetes Care 2004; 27:1218–24
    • Forgetting to take your tablets. Diabetes.co.uk. www.diabetes.co.uk, accessed 19 November 2015
    • Delamater AM. Improving patient adherence. Clinical Diabetes 2006; 24:71–77
    • Glycaemic index and diabetes. Diabetes UK. www.diabetes.org.uk, accessed 19 November 2015
    • Carbohydrates and diabetes. Diabetes UK. www.diabetes.org.uk, accessed 19 November 2015
    • Physical activity guidelines for adults (19–64 years). Department of Health. www.gov.uk, published 2011
    • Help with giving up smoking. Diabetes UK. www.diabetes.org.uk, accessed 19 November 2015
    • Diabetic foot problems: prevention and management. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), August 2015. www.nice.org.uk
    • The best diabetes iPhone and android apps of 2015. Healthline. www.healthline.com, published 29 July 2015
    • Diabetes UK. Living with diabetes. www.diabetes.org.uk, accessed 19 November 2015
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    Reviewed by Alice Rossiter, Specialist Health Editor, Bupa Health Content Team, February 2016.

    Peer reviewed by Dr Jonathan Katz, Consultant Endocrinologist.

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