Thousands of 5-Star Reviews From Real Customers - Find Out Why Our Customers Love Us Here!
Canadian Med Center

Type 2 Diabetes Treatment Options

Tuesday 19 March 2024
5 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. Oral Medications for Diabetes

II. Injectable Medications

III. Dietary Strategies

IV. Physical Activity for Diabetes

V. Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for type 2 diabetes. Some individuals can successfully manage their diabetes through lifestyle changes alone, while others require a combination of medications and lifestyle changes to keep their blood sugar in a healthy range. The key is finding an approach that works for your unique situation.

In this article, we'll go over the various types of treatment for type 2 diabetes, including oral medications, injectable medications, dietary strategies, and physical exercise.

Oral Medications

There are various oral medications available to help manage type 2 diabetes. Some only address blood sugar management, while others have added benefits of treating co-existing conditions.

When starting treatment, your doctor will work with you to determine the right medication or combination for your needs and symptoms. 

  • Biguanides (Metformin) improves the body's sensitivity to insulin so that the liver produces less glucose. It is often prescribed as a first-line treatment for diabetes and has an excellent safety record.
  • DPP-4 inhibitors include drugs like sitagliptin, linagliptin, and saxagliptin. They work by increasing insulin production in the pancreas and decreasing glucagon levels in the liver. 
  • SGLT-2 inhibitors (for example, Jardiance) are a newer class of oral diabetes medication that prevent the kidneys from reabsorbing glucose into the bloodstream, causing more glucose to be eliminated in the urine. They are also FDA-approved for treating cardiovascular diseases and chronic kidney disease.
  • Oral GLP-1 agonists (for example, Rybelsus) mimic the effects of a naturally occurring hormone called GLP-1. They stimulate insulin release and inhibit glucagon secretion. [1]

Injectable Medications

insulin vials

Many types of injectable medications for diabetes can help manage blood sugar levels. These include several forms of insulin, which vary in how quickly they work and how long their effects last. There are also injectable medications called GLP-1 agonists that stimulate insulin secretion.

  • Rapid-acting insulin provides a quick dose to handle spikes in blood glucose after meals and snacks. It's fast-acting, just like the insulin your body naturally produces after eating. When using this type of insulin, it’s crucial to eat immediately after you inject.
  • Short-acting (regular) insulin has a slightly slower onset than rapid-acting insulin. It manages blood glucose levels before and between meals.
  • Intermediate-acting insulin is absorbed more slowly and lasts longer. It maintains steady blood sugar levels for extended periods between meals and overnight. 
  • Mixed insulins combine rapid or short-acting insulin with an intermediate-acting insulin. The insulin will work as fast as the quickest acting insulin the mixture and will last as long as the longest acting insulin. This allows them to maintain mealtime and basal insulin levels. It’s important to note that not all insulins can be mixed.
  • Long-acting insulin works slowly and steadily over many hours to keep blood sugar stable when you’re not eating, such as between meals and while sleeping.
  • Injectable GLP-1 agonists (such as Ozempic) belong to a class that mimics the effects of the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1. GLP-1 agonists stimulate insulin release and inhibit glucagon secretion. [2]

Dietary Strategies

Managing blood sugar levels through dietary strategies is critical to overall health, especially for those with diabetes. With planning and education around food choices, you can take control of your blood sugar levels. We've outlined some helpful tips below:

  • Choose the right type of carbohydrates: Foods such as whole grains, legumes, and vegetables are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. Unlike simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly, which helps prevent sudden spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels.
  • Plan out meals ahead of time: This makes it easier to control portions and choose foods that align with your nutritional needs. Take time on the weekends to map out meals and snacks for the week ahead. Pre-portion items like nuts and cheese to grab and go when needed.
  • Pay attention to the glycemic index: The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly foods raise blood sugar. Choose lower GI foods like steel-cut oats, sweet potatoes, and most fruits to prevent rapid spikes. Be mindful of higher GI foods like white bread, rice, and potatoes.
  • Eat at consistent times: This helps maintain steady blood sugar rather than experiencing highs and lows. Try setting a meal schedule and sticking to it as much as possible.
  • Eat unsaturated fats: Unsaturated fats, found in olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds, can improve blood cholesterol levels, and reduce inflammation. On the other hand, it is important to limit your intake of saturated fats, as they can increase cholesterol levels and your risk of heart disease. [3]

Physical Activity

a woman walking in a park

If you have type 2 diabetes, one of the most beneficial things you can do is stay physically active. Regular exercise is a powerful tool for lowering blood sugar levels. In fact, being active can work just as well as some diabetes medications, but without the unwanted side effects. [4]

Physical activity includes any movement that gets your body burning calories, from gardening to cleaning the house. The key is avoiding long periods of sitting down. Try to get up and move around for a few minutes every 20 to 30 minutes. [4]

There are many benefits of physical activity:

  • It reduces your risk of diabetes complications like heart disease and stroke.
  • It prevents high blood sugar by helping insulin work better.
  • It can lower blood pressure.
  • It reduces your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. [4]

Aerobic exercise and resistance training are important types of activity for managing diabetes.

  • Aerobic exercise involves continuous movement that gets your heart pumping faster. Aim for 150 minutes per week, which can be broken into shorter ten-minute sessions. 
  • Resistance training focuses on brief, repetitive exercises using weight machines or your body weight to build muscle strength. Incorporate resistance exercises into your routine two to three times per week. [4]

Before you start your new exercise routine, it's essential to be prepared to avoid unwanted complications.

  • If you've been inactive, talk with your doctor before starting anything more strenuous than brisk walking.
  • Bring a fast-acting carb with you in case you need to treat low blood sugar.
  • Check your blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise to see how it impacts you. [4]


Managing type 2 diabetes effectively requires a multi-faceted approach. By working closely with your healthcare provider, you can develop a customized treatment plan incorporating the right medications, dietary changes, and physical activity to fit your lifestyle and needs.

To learn more about type 2 diabetes, visit our dedicated diabetes blog.

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.