Managing type 2 diabetes can feel overwhelming, but there is support available to help you create a healthy
lifestyle plan that works for you.
Living with type 2 diabetes can bring a few challenges. Learning to manage
it as effectively as you can is essential for feeling your best and
preventing future health complications.1
But you’re not in this alone. A range of health professionals – from your
GP to a dietitian, optometrist, pharmacist and more – can form your support
team, helping you navigate your diabetes management and create a healthy
"It’s important to make sure you’re connecting with your doctors and other
health professionals who can really help you with your own understanding of
diabetes and what good management looks like.
"This allows you to take ownership of your health, so you can be more
informed about the choices you make and the impact those choices can have."
Understanding type 2 diabetes
Our bodies need a hormone called insulin to break down glucose in the
bloodstream (sometimes referred to as blood sugar), so that it can be used
In type 2 diabetes, the body either stops producing enough insulin, or
becomes unable to respond to insulin properly. This results in high blood
glucose levels, which can cause symptoms such as excessive thirst and
urination, hunger, fatigue and lethargy.3
Over time, diabetes can lead to serious complications including heart
disease, kidney disease, nerve problems, foot problems and vision loss.3 That’s why experts say
early treatment and regular health
checks are essential, even if you’re not currently experiencing problems.
"Don’t wait for problems before you have a plan. Being proactive with early
treatment and careful management is the best way to reduce your risk of
"And as time goes on your original plan may need
Creating a diabetes-friendly lifestyle
Healthy lifestyle choices including a nutritious diet, regular exercise and
monitoring your blood glucose levels can help you manage type 2 diabetes.3
"Food has a major influence on your blood glucose levels, especially
carbohydrate food," du Heaume says.
"Understanding how to build a healthy pattern of eating over the long term
can help you manage your blood glucose levels, manage your weight and
reduce your risk of diabetes complications."
As a starting point, du Heaume recommends following the Australian Guide to
Healthy Eating, with regular healthy meals spread across the day to keep
you energised and avoid large increases in blood glucose.4
"However, there is no one diet that fits all for diabetes," du Heaume says.
"Diet is a very individual thing, and Diabetes Australia recommends all
people with diabetes see a dietitian for personalised advice."
Your diabetes support team
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about navigating your health care, a good
place to start is by exploring the
National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS)
They can provide information and resources to get you on the right path.
Below are some of the health professionals who Diabetes Australia suggests
can help you with different aspects of your diabetes management.2
is your primary health provider, checking your diabetes and helping you
manage it. They can refer you to other specialists you may need to see.
A diabetes educator
can work with you to help you understand and manage your diabetes.
Australian Diabetes Educators Association
to find out more.
can help you understand how food affects your blood glucose levels and
work with you to develop a personalised healthy eating plan.
needs to regularly check your teeth and gums, as diabetes can increase
your risk of dental problems including tooth decay and gum disease.
helps you look after your feet, which is important because diabetes
increases your risk of foot ulcers and amputations.
can screen for eye problems such as diabetic eye disease, which can
lead to vision loss and blindness if left untreated. Diabetes Australia
recommends an eye check every two years.
can monitor diabetic eye disease and provide treatment. Your
optometrist or GP can refer you to an ophthalmologist if needed.
An exercise physiologist or physiotherapist
can help you work out an exercise plan to support your diabetes
at your local pharmacy (an NDSS Access Point) can help you understand
is a medical specialist who can provide expert advice on managing your
diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes often don’t need to see an
endocrinologist straight away, but you might in future.
A counsellor, psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker
can help you if you’re feeling stressed or struggling with the
emotional impact of managing diabetes.
How HBF can help with diabetes
Depending on your cover,
can pay benefits towards visits to the dentist, a dietitian, a podiatrist,
an exercise physiologist, a physiotherapist or a psychologist.
HBF hospital cover
may pay benefits for insulin pumps, as well as hospital treatments that may
be required for diabetes (such as stabilisation of hypo- or hyperglycaemia
and lumps and bumps from insulin injections).
Eligible HBF hospital members may also have access to
The COACH Program, an evidence-based telephone coaching service to help you manage type 2
Always remember that you’re not alone. With the right support, you can
develop a type 2 diabetes management plan that keeps you feeling healthy –
and reduces your risk of future complications.
This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal
needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider
the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.