Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes are a process that can take time. The first step for people who live with type 2 diabetes is to have a plan and stick to it. They should start small, like making short-term goals for themselves. They should change one unhealthy behavior at a time. For instance, if they eat heavy meals late before bedtime, they should make it a habit to stop eating dinner after 6 pm every evening and stick to the plan. They should also join a support group and ask for help when the going gets tough. They should not be afraid to start over again should they fall short of their goals. The idea is to never give up.
Weight Control: No diet will reverse diabetes without exercise. As people with type 2 diabetes begin to lose weight, even a small weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of total body weight, they are better able to reduce the metabolic risk and cardiovascular complications surrounding their condition. They can lower their blood pressure, cholesterol level and they will feel and look better. They should start gradually to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week and keep it off with ongoing lifestyle changes that include daily healthy eating and resistance exercise for 30 minutes five days a week.
Physical Inactivity: Any extended sitting, such as behind the desk at work or driving long hours on the road could be harmful. People with diabetes should go for a short walk after a meal. A total of 10,000 steps a day is recommended.
Nutrition: People with type 2 diabetes need to pay more attention to food choices, especially carbohydrates because they can have a high impact on blood sugar levels. The meals should be varied and contain mostly whole plant foods. They should eat slowly and masticate thoroughly. They should base their meals around vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains. They should eat fresh varieties of dark leafy green, red and orange vegetables. They should eat whole fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries rather than drink juices. They should eat small portions of healthy fats from peanuts, avocados, flax seeds and olive oil. They should eat high-quality protein such as lentils, sprouts, beans, and peas. They should increase fibers in their diet such as wheat bread, barley, rye, wheat bran and oatmeal.
Screening: American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that all adults aged 45 years and older be screened for type 2 diabetes.
Smoking Cessation: All smokers should be encouraged to quit smoking.
Stress: All diabetics should reduce their everyday stress, for instance, by avoiding driving during rush hours, and through meditation.
Influenza: All people with diabetes should get the flu shot annually.
Pneumococcal: A one-time revaccination is recommended for individuals over 64 years of age previously immunized when they were less than 65 years of age if the vaccine was administered more than 5 years ago.
Hepatitis B Series: Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis B. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unvaccinated adults with type 2 diabetes should be vaccinated against hepatitis B virus as soon as possible after diagnosis.
ADA recommends aspirin therapy for most men and women with type 2 diabetes aged 50 and older with at least one other risk factor for cardiovascular disease and not at increased bleeding risk.
People with type 2 diabetes should talk to their doctor about adding ezetimibe to their statin therapy to provide additional cardiovascular benefits if they have had a recent acute coronary syndrome.