Type 2 diabetes
One in ten Americans — over 34 million people — has diabetes. Of these, 90% to 95% are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a common disease caused by low levels of the hormone insulin. To manage this condition, you need Type 2 diabetes tools so you can monitor your blood sugar levels.
Your pancreas produces the hormone insulin. Insulin controls your blood sugar levels by allowing your cells to take up glucose and use it for energy. Type 2 diabetes happens when your body doesn’t make or use enough insulin.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, you develop insulin resistance. This means your cells can’t respond to insulin or absorb glucose from your bloodstream. Your body starts producing more insulin so your cells get energy.
Your pancreas then becomes overworked and can’t keep up, decreasing your insulin and increasing your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels further cause health conditions like heart and kidney problems.
Diagnosis of type 2 diabetes
Your doctor will do a blood test to check if you have Type 2 diabetes. If you have high fasting blood sugar levels, then you likely have Type 2 diabetes.
Managing type 2 diabetes
Your doctor may order an A1c test to monitor your average blood sugar levels over three months. This test can help you manage and control your blood sugar levels. Your doctor may prescribe insulin injections and/or oral medication to control your diabetes.
With your doctor’s support, you’ll have to manage your Type 2 diabetes. Some common steps to manage Type 2 diabetes include:
- Eating healthy
- Staying active
- Taking your medication on time
Maintaining blood sugar levels
Your doctor will tell you what range your blood sugars should be. A typical target range for blood sugar before meals might be between 80 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter) and 130 mg/dl. Two hours after the start of a meal, your target range may be below 180 mg/dl.
If your blood sugar level is above 180 mg/dl, you have high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. Your doctor will give you instructions about what to do if your blood sugar level is outside of your target range.
Type 2 diabetes tools
The following supplies can help you monitor and control your blood sugar levels and manage your Type 2 diabetes.
1. Blood sugar meter
A blood sugar meter, blood glucose meter, or glucometer is a handy electronic device for blood sugar monitoring.
You'll need a lancet needle to prick your finger and draw a drop of your blood. Then place the drop of blood on the end of a diabetes test strip. When you insert the test strip into the glucometer, it will show your blood sugar level.
2. Continuous glucose monitor
While a glucometer measures your blood sugar at a specific time, a continuous glucose monitor checks your blood sugar levels every 5 minutes. The device has a sensor that measures sugar levels in your tissue fluid throughout the day. It sends this data to a handheld device or an app on your smartphone to continuously keep track of your condition.
3. Insulin syringe, pen, or pump
If you have high blood sugar, your doctor may suggest taking insulin shots. They may prescribe the following types of insulin to maintain your blood sugar levels:
- Rapid or fast-acting. This takes effect within 15 minutes of injection and lasts for 2 to 4 hours.
- Regular or short-acting. This starts working within 30 minutes and is effective for 3 to 6 hours.
- Intermediate-acting. This starts working 2 to 4 hours after injection and continues to work for 12 to 18 hours.
- Long-acting. This takes several hours to start working but lowers blood sugar levels over 24 hours.
These types of insulin are available in different doses across the United States. The commonly used one is U-100, or 100 units of insulin per milliliter of fluid. You may have to take the insulin injection one or more times a day based on your doctor’s advice.
Typically, you can use a syringe to inject insulin into your body. You can also use an insulin pen, which is pre-filled or comes with an insulin cartridge.
Another method of insulin delivery is an insulin pump. It is a small device that is programmed to continuously release short- or rapid-acting insulin into your body. You can attach it to your body using a band or a sock. It has a catheter and needle that will be placed under your skin so it can regularly deliver small doses of insulin similar to your pancreas.
Automated insulin delivery systems are similar to insulin pumps. These systems combine data from your continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump to adjust the dose based on your blood sugar levels.
4. Fast-acting carbohydrates like glucose
While managing Type 2 diabetes, you may experience low blood sugar levels. To avoid complications like fainting or seizures, you'll have to take some fast-acting form of carbohydrate, such as food, drink, or fast-acting tablets made of glucose. Keep glucose tablets, glucose gel, candy, or sweet fruit juice handy to quickly improve your condition.
Along with these supplies, you must maintain your diet and lifestyle. If you experience any complications, talk to your doctor immediately for treatment.