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Diabetes Therapy

Exams and Tests

If your doctor thinks that you may have diabetes, he or she will order a couple of blood glucose tests. Blood glucose tests are blood tests that measure how much sugar is in your blood. Usually, they are done first thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything. Sometimes, a glucose tolerance test is also done; however, the American Diabetes Association does not recommend this test because it is expensive and takes time.

To make a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, your doctor will use your blood test results and the American Diabetes Association's criteria. He or she also will ask you questions about your medical history and do a physical exam.

If your blood sugar level is above normal but below the level for diabetes, you have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. For more information on prediabetes, see the topic Prediabetes.

Other Diabetes Tests

A home blood sugar test or a urine test for sugar are not the best ways to learn whether you have diabetes. However, after you are diagnosed, you may use home blood sugar tests to check your own blood sugar levels.

Along with your home blood sugar tests, your health professional will give you a hemoglobin A1c (glycohemoglobin) test after you start treatment for diabetes. This test finds your average blood sugar level over the previous 2 to 3 months. The A1c test adds to the information from your home blood sugar tests to help you keep track of your blood sugar control.

After you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, you may have a thorough exam of your cardiovascular system to check for any heart problems.

Early detection

If you are age 45 or older, the American Diabetes Association recommends that you be tested for diabetes every 3 years. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends testing for diabetes in people who have either high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and how often you need to be tested.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that you be tested more often or begin testing at a younger age if you:

  • Have a parent, brother, or sister who has type 2 diabetes.
  • Are overweight (have a body mass index, or BMI, of 25 or higher). See the body mass index (BMI) chart for adults (See figure 4 in appendix) or the same chart in metric (See figure 5 in appendix) to determine your BMI.
  • Are African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American, or Pacific Islander.
  • Have prediabetes.
  • Have high blood pressure.
  • Have high cholesterol.
  • Have a history of gestational diabetes or have delivered a baby who weighed 9 lb (4 kg) or more.

Treatment Overview

It can be scary to learn that you, your child, a family member, or a friend has type 2 diabetes or is at risk for the disease. Many people are shocked when they find out that they have type 2 diabetes. Others are relieved to know what has been causing their symptoms. Although it is normal to feel angry or depressed about having a serious lifelong disease, it is important to remember that many people who have type 2 diabetes enjoy healthy, active lives when they are able to control their blood sugar. Exercising, eating healthy foods, and taking medicines all help control blood sugar.

There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but there are ways to treat the disease. Even if you do not feel sick, you still need treatment to prevent more serious health problems in the future.

Some people can control their blood sugar by changing the way they eat and exercising more. Other people also need to take medicines. Treatment for type 2 diabetes includes:

  • Changing the way you eat to spread carbohydrate throughout the day so your blood sugar level stays the same all day.
  • Exercising regularly to help your body use insulin better.
  • Checking your blood sugar at home to know when the level is above or below your target range.
  • Taking pills, if eating differently and exercising more do not keep your blood sugar levels within a safe range. You may need one or more medicines to help your body make more insulin or to use insulin better.
  • Taking insulin shots for a while or for the rest of your life. Insulin can only be given by injection, and it may be used alone or with other medicines that are in the form of pills.
  • Seeing your doctor regularly to make sure that your treatment is working and that you have not developed any serious problems such as eye, kidney, cardiovascular, or nerve disease.

Other important issues

If you have type 2 diabetes, you also need to:

  1. Always wear medical identification to let health professionals know in an emergency that you have diabetes. Medical ID necklaces or bracelets are available from your doctor, your local pharmacy, or online.
  2. Know how to recognize and quickly treat high blood sugar and low blood sugar.
  3. Take extra care of your skin, teeth, feet, and gums.
  4. Know how to care for yourself when you are sick.
  5. Preventing type 2 diabetes

    You can take steps to prevent type 2 diabetes. Even small changes can make a difference, and it is never too late to start making healthier choices.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. To find out if you are overweight, you can use the body mass index (BMI) chart for adults . If you need to lose weight, losing as few as 10 lb (4.5 kg) to 20 lb (9.1 kg) can help reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise decreases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Try to do activities that raise your heart rate. Exercise for at least 30 minutes on most, preferably all, days of the week. The American Diabetes Association suggests that you include resistance exercises in your exercise program.
  • Resistance exercises can include activities like weight lifting or even yard work. This does not mean that you have to do strenuous activities or join an expensive gym—anything that increases your heart rate counts. Walking groups or programs where you use a pedometer to count the number of steps you take in a day are great ways to start exercising and to stay motivated. If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, using an exercise planning form may help you and your doctor or other health professional to create a personalized exercise program.
  • Eat healthy foods. Eating more vegetables, whole grains, and nuts can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Eating a lot of sugary foods, fast foods, and red meat (especially processed red meat) and drinking a lot of soft drinks can increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Preventing diabetes complications

    You can help prevent or delay the development of problems with your heart, eyes, kidneys, and nerves if you:

    1. Keep your blood sugar levels within a safe range.
    2. Talk to your doctor about taking a low-dose aspirin to prevent a heart attack, a stroke, or other large blood vessel diseases (macrovascular disease).
    3. Take medicines for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
    4. Take an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) medicine at the first sign of diabetic nephropathy, even if you do not have high blood pressure.
    5. Get regular eye exams.
    6. Take good care of your feet.
    7. Quit smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, talk with your doctor about ways to quit. Smoking contributes to the early development of diabetes complications.10 For more information, see the topic Quitting Tobacco Use.

    Home Diabetes Treatment

    Making healthy choices is a large part of treating type 2 diabetes. The more you learn about the disease, the more motivated you may be to make good choices and to follow your treatment plan. By understanding what is happening in your body, you may also feel more in control of your disease.

    If you have type 2 diabetes, your daily routine will include:

    • Eating healthy foods and spreading carbohydrate throughout the day.
    • Getting some physical activity that raises your heart rate, including resistance exercises like weight lifting or even yard work.
    • Checking your blood sugar levels.
    • Taking pills for type 2 diabetes and insulin, if prescribed.
    • Drinking enough fluids to avoid dehydration.
    • Taking a low-dose aspirin, if your doctor tells you to do so.

    Other Important Diabetes Issues

    If you have type 2 diabetes, you also need to:

    • Always wear medical identification to let health professionals know in an emergency that you have diabetes. Medical ID necklaces or bracelets are available from your doctor, your local pharmacy, or online.
    • Know how to recognize and to quickly treat high blood sugar and low blood sugar.
    • Take extra care of your skin, teeth, feet, and gums.
    • Know how to care for yourself when you are sick.

    For more information on managing type 2 diabetes, see the topics Type 2 Diabetes: Recently Diagnosed and Type 2 Diabetes: Living With the Disease.

    Diabetes Medications

    Some people with type 2 diabetes need medicine to help their bodies make more insulin, to decrease insulin resistance, or to slow down how quickly their body absorbs carbohydrate.

    You may take no medicine, one medicine, or a few medicines. Some people need medicine for short periods of time, while others always need to take medicine. How much medicine you need depends on how well you can keep your blood sugar within a safe range.

    Some people who have type 2 diabetes take medicines for high blood pressure or high cholesterol. They may also take aspirin to prevent a heart attack, a stroke, or other large blood vessel diseases (macrovascular disease).

    Other Diabetes Treatment

    You may be tempted to try products or pills that promise to cure your type 2 diabetes. But these products and remedies can be harmful and expensive. If you are considering taking any medicines or herbal remedies without a prescription, talk to your doctor first. We can recommend you alternative therapies that may prove benfical for you.


    Next Steps:

    While you may find this medical information useful, as the next step we strongly recommend that you make an appointment to see one of our physicians to ensure that your health issues are properly addressed.

    To schedule an appointment with our physicians, please call our patient coordinator at 1-212-679-9667, send the form below or an email to: info@patientsmedical.com. We are currently accepting new patients and look forward to being of assistance.

    We are located at: Patients Medical PC, 800 Second Avenue, Suite 900 (Between 42nd & 43rd Street), Manhattan, NYC, New York, NY 10017.



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    Article Last Updated: 08/26/2015