Treatment

The four cornerstones of treatment for diabetes are motivation/knowledge, diet, physical activity and, if needed, medication.

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You will need to be able to measure your blood glucose yourself. This will give you greater peace of mind, and enable you to achieve good glycaemic control, that is, adjust your blood sugar to match your level of activity from one day to the next.

Learning and having information about your disease are equally important and necessary in achieving proper self-care and helpful coping skills. Achieving good glycaemic control takes time; you can't learn everything all in one go.

This tells you about some of the factors that can help you live well with diabetes:

• You should make every effort to quit if you smoke. Smoking increases your risk of cardiovascular disease (diseases of the heart and arteries), and people with diabetes are already predisposed to these complications.

• Achieve your ideal weight Being overweight is one of the trigger factors for type 2 diabetes. Losing weight helps your body to use insulin more efficiently. Besides which, people who are overweight often have high blood pressure, and compounded by diabetes, this puts them at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

• Take regular exercise There are many benefits from physical activity, including weight loss. Exercise makes your body's own insulin work better and reduces your blood glucose, and benefits your all-round health in the long term. 30 minutes of physical exercise daily is recommended, and to achieve a measurable effect you should feel your body heat up and start sweating.

• Eat healthily A healthy diet helps to control your blood glucose level, and prevents elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure. You should learn how to calculate the total volume of carbohydrates and fibre in your meals.