Managing Type 2 Diabetes

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What is Diabetes Mellitus Type 2?

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Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, or type 2 diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes in Canada. It’s estimated around 2.7 million Canadians live with type 2 diabetes.

People of any age can have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs more often in overweight adults, especially those with diabetic relatives, and is a lifelong illness. Because of this, another name for type 2 diabetes is adult-onset diabetes.

In type 2 diabetes, a problem with insulin prevents a body’s cells from using sugar (glucose) in food. Insulin is a chemical made in the pancreas. Insulin helps sugar enter body cells, which then use the sugar for energy. Type 2 diabetes, specifically, involves the poor response of cells to insulin, or insulin resistance. It can also result in too much sugar in the blood, or hyperglycemia, in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

In type 2 diabetes, when cells do not have or do not respond to, insulin, they cannot get the sugar they need to function. Sugar stays in the blood, at least until some of the excess sugar is filtered into urine and removed. Too much blood sugar damages blood vessels, which can cause serious diseases.

What Are The Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

Symptoms start slowly but get worse, although some with type 2 diabetes have no apparent symptoms. Some with type 2 diabetes often feel thirsty and hungry, and may need to urinate often.

Other symptoms can include chronic fatigue, blurred vision, chest pain or other heart trouble, weight gain or loss, foot ulcers, numbness or tingling in hands or feet, sores that don’t heal, infections, and impotence in men.

Severe complications of long-term type 2 diabetes include blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, coronary heart disease, and peripheral heart vascular disease.

How is Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed?

A health care provider will use a patient’s medical history, combined with a physical examination and blood sugar levels for diagnosis.

Other laboratory test includes average blood sugar levels over 2 to 3 months and a glucose tolerance test. The health care provider will also test the kidneys with blood and urine tests and the blood fat level.

How Is Diabetes Treated?

Many patients control type 2 diabetes simply through diet and exercise. New diets allow a variety of choices, though avoiding high-sugar and high-fat food is essential. Exercise helps control weight, keeps blood sugar levels down, and helps the body make better use of insulin.

Exercise helps with diabetes management

Some patients need medication, however. Medication for type 2 diabetes usually consists of pills to help the body use up sugar. If the pills do not work, insulin injection is given.

Blood sugar levels must be tested often, usually on a daily basis. Being under the care of specialists, such as an endocrinologist, podiatrist, or ophthalmologist in addition to a primary health care provider can also help prevent complications from diabetes.

Dos and DON’Ts in Managing Diabetes Mellitus Type 2:

  • DO keep your blood sugar level near normal.
  • DO exercise regularly.
  • DO keep a healthy body weight
  • DO eat regular meals.
  • DO eat healthy: whole-grain foods, fruits, vegetables, and high-quality proteins. Avoid high-sugar, high-fat, and white flour foods.
  • DO keep alcohol intake low.
  • DO have your eyes checked yearly, and visit the dentist twice a year.
  • DO quit smoking
  • DO take good care of your feet. Visit your podiatrist at least twice per year.
  • DO call your health care provider if you have a fever or vomiting and cannot eat or drink.
  • DO call your health care provider if you have a high fever or low blood sugar levels that you can not explain.
  • DON’T smoke
  • DON’T drink liquor or high-sugar liquids
Pharmacy Assistant

Role of Pharmacy Assistant in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

A Pharmacy Assistant can provide focused care to a rapidly growing base of patients with diabetes and other endocrine conditions. Job responsibilities include entering and managing patient pharmacy profiles, and filling and preparing medications, both over-the-counter and prescription.

Role of Medical Office Assistant in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Medical Office Assistants provide an important front-line service when dealing with type 2 diabetes patients. Their tasks may include proactively identifying patients with diabetes who would benefit from an office visit, reviewing medical adherence according to clinical guidelines, and ordering labs and prescription refills based on protocols.

As mentioned in my last article, Heritage College’s has a unique Diabetes Education course. This one-day class covers many topics that will enable you to manage your diabetes better and improve your quality of life.


  • Ferri’s Netter Advisor for Health Professionals
  • CTC 2019 Canadian Pharmacist Association
  • Merck Manual 2018, Merck Publishing

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