Managing Type 2 Diabetes

If you just found out you have type 2 diabetes, or your doctor just started you on diabetes medicine, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. There's a lot to learn and many changes to make in your daily life.

You don't need to do everything at once. Learning new things and making changes can be easier if you take small steps.

First Steps

You'll work with your doctor to design a care plan to help you manage your diabetes. To follow your plan you'll learn to:

  • Make healthy food choices.
  • Check your own blood sugar levels.
  • Keep a record of your blood sugar levels.
  • Know when to call your doctor or the Consulting Nurse Service.

If your doctor started you on diabetes pills or insulin, you'll also learn:

  • What your medicine does.
  • When and how to take it.
  • How your medicine affects your blood sugar.

Next Steps

After you've learned the first, basic skills, you'll be ready to move on to the next steps in managing your diabetes. Here are some of the things you'll learn:

  • What meal plan will work best to help you manage diabetes.
  • What kinds of exercises you can do and when to do them.
  • What to do if your blood sugar levels get too low or too high.
  • Pattern management and how to look for patterns of high and low blood sugar levels.
  • How to use pattern management to make decisions about your diabetes care plan.

Ongoing Care

Protect yourself from heart disease and stroke. People with diabetes have a much higher chance of getting heart disease or having a stroke. Learn how to lower your risk.

Work with your health care team to set up a schedule for routine office visits and diabetes exams and tests.

If you need help between your regularly scheduled visits, you can contact a member of your health care team to help you with your questions or concerns. For example, if you're having a hard time sticking to your meal plan, you can make an appointment to meet with a dietitian. If you have questions about your medicines, you can talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

You'll find information and articles on that can answer many of your questions and help you manage your diabetes.

Also, check out the Living Well with Diabetes workshops that Kaiser Permanente offers free to members.

By managing diabetes, you can prevent or reduce complications related to diabetes, and have a long and healthy life.

Clinical review by David McCulloch, MD
Kaiser Permanente
Reviewed 03/01/2014