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Living with type 2 diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, you will need to look after your health very carefully.

Caring for your health will make treating your diabetes easier and minimise your risk of developing complications of diabetes.

Self care

Self care is an integral part of daily life. It means you take responsibility for your own health and wellbeing with support from those involved in your care.

Self care includes things you do each day to stay fit, maintain good physical and mental health, prevent illness or accidents, and effectively deal with minor ailments and long-term conditions.

People living with long-term conditions can benefit enormously if they receive self care support. They can live longer, experience less pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue, have a better quality of life and be more active and independent.

Regular reviews

As type 2 diabetes is a long-term condition, you will be in regular contact with your diabetes care team. Developing a good relationship with the team will enable you to freely discuss your symptoms or any concerns you have.

The more the team knows, the more they can help you. Your GP or diabetes care team will also need to check your eyes, feet and nerves regularly because they can also be affected by diabetes.

Healthy eating

It is not true that if you have diabetes you will need to eat a special diet. You should eat a healthy diet high in fibre, fruit and vegetables and low in fat, salt and sugar.

Different foods will affect you in different ways, so it is important to know what to eat and when to get the right amount of glucose for the insulin you are taking. A diabetes dietitian can help you work out a dietary plan that can be adapted to your specific needs. Read more about healthy eating.

Regular exercise

As physical activity lowers your blood glucose level, it is very important to exercise regularly if you have diabetes.

Like anyone else, you should aim to do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week. However, before starting a new activity, speak to your GP or diabetes care team first.

As exercise will affect your blood glucose level, you and your care team may have to adjust your insulin treatment or diet to keep your blood glucose level steady.

Do not smoke

If you have diabetes, your risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack or strok, is increased.

As well as increasing this risk further, smoking also increases your risk of many other serious smoking-related conditions, such as lung cancer.

If you want to give up smoking, your GP will be able to provide you with advice, support and treatment to help you quit.

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