How to Manage Type 2 Diabetes Without Insulin

Some people with type 2 diabetes use insulin injections to manage their blood sugar levels. For others, type 2 diabetes can be efficiently managed without using insulin. Your healthcare provider might advise you to manage type 2 diabetes through oral medications, lifestyle changes, and treatments per your health and medical history.

Here are some essential things you need to know about managing type 2 diabetes without insulin usage.

Lifestyle is Necessary

Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their blood sugar levels by making a few changes in their lifestyle. However, healthy lifestyle choices are still important even if you need medication.

To control your blood sugar levels, you should try to:

  • Consume a balanced and healthy diet
  • Get an adequate sleep of 8 hours per day
  • Do a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise regularly, five days per week
  • Do at least two sessions of muscle-strengthening activities per week

Depending on your body weight and height, your doctor might recommend you reduce weight. Your doctor or dietitian can help you prepare an effective weight loss plan. Moreover, it would be best to avoid tobacco to lessen your risk of complications from type 2 diabetes.

Use of Oral Medication

Your doctor may prescribe oral medications for type 2 diabetes and lifestyle changes. They can help lower your blood sugar levels. There are various oral medications available to manage type 2 diabetes, such as:

  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
  • Bile acid sequestrants
  • Dopamine-2 agonists
  • DPP-4 inhibitors
  • SGLT2 inhibitors
  • Sulfonylureas
  • Meglitinides
  • Biguanides
  • TZDs

Sometimes, you might need a combination of these oral medications prescribed by the doctor. It is also known as oral combination therapy. You can try different medications to find a regimen that suits your medical needs best.

Use of Injectable Medication

Insulin isn't the only injectable medication used to manage type 2 diabetes. In some cases, your doctor might prescribe other injectable medication. For example, GLP-1 receptor agonists and amylin analogues need to be injected. These medications keep your blood glucose level within a normal range, particularly after having a meal.

Depending on the specific medication, you might need to inject it daily or weekly. When your doctor prescribes injectable medication, ask them about their usage. They can guide you on how to inject the medication safely.

Weight Loss Surgery Can Be an Option

If your body mass (a measure of weight and height) meets the obesity criteria, your doctor might suggest weight loss surgery to help manage type 2 diabetes. This procedure is known as metabolic or bariatric surgery. It helps improve blood sugar levels and lower diabetic complications risks.

Some Treatments Can Cause Side Effects

Different types of surgery, medication, and treatment can cause side effects. The type and risk of side effects differ from one treatment to another. Before taking a new medication, you should consult your doctor about its advantages and risks. Ask them if it can interact with other medications or supplements. You should also tell your doctor if you're pregnant or breastfeeding since some medications aren't safe to use in such cases.

Weight loss surgery can also have side effects, such as infection at an incision site. Before surgery, please consult your doctor about its potential risks and benefits. Ask them how long the recovery procedure will take, including steps you can take to lessen your risk of post-surgery complications.

If you notice that you’ve developed some side effects from the treatment, contact your doctor immediately. They can help pinpoint the actual causes of your symptoms. They can also amend your treatment plan to help relieve or prevent side effects.

Your Treatment Needs Can Change

Your condition and treatment needs can change over time. If you found managing your blood sugar levels with lifestyle changes and other medications challenging, your doctor might prescribe insulin. Following the prescribed treatment plan can help you treat type 2 diabetes and lower the associated risks.

The Takeaway

Different treatments are available to manage type 2 diabetes. If you have any concerns about your current treatment plan, consult with your doctor immediately. They can help you better understand your needs and prepare a plan that suits you.