How Type 2 Diabetes Affects Your Daily Life

Having diabetes has many effects on physical well-being. It can also have mental and emotional impacts that affect other aspects of your life, such as your relationships with others and your professional life.

This article discusses how having type 2 diabetes can take a toll on everyday living and how you can minimize its negative impacts.

Man with type 2 diabetes working from home and checking his blood sugar levels.

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Overall Well-Being

Living with a chronic disease, like type 2 diabetes, can understandably come with a range of emotions and can interfere with just about any aspect of daily life. As a result, many people with diabetes experience anxiety, depression, hopelessness, frustration, and burnout.

When these feelings creep up, it can become more challenging to take care of yourself, which can worsen your physical and mental health. Poor blood sugar (glucose) management can also result in irritability, mood swings, and physical symptoms such as hunger and lightheadedness.

Identifying where you can make healthy changes in your lifestyle and management plan can help improve your overall well-being.

Physical Activity

Being physically active is critical to lowering and managing blood glucose levels, but that doesn't mean it's always easy to do. For example, when you're feeling down or have a lack of energy, this makes it more challenging to get up and move your body.

Exercise also benefits your mood and can help counteract feelings of sadness, so simply starting can quickly lead to healthier habits.

When you have type 2 diabetes, physical activity should emphasize things you enjoy doing. Activities could include walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, riding a bike, taking martial arts, or strength training.

Self Confidence

When faced with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, many people feel lower self-confidence, making it more challenging to take the initiative needed for proper diabetes management.

One study found that individuals more self-confident in managing their disease are more likely to participate in regular physical activity, adhere to medication, follow a healthy diet, monitor their blood sugar, and find positive social support.

Increased self-confidence is associated with experiencing fewer self-care difficulties, but it can take time and practice. Setting realistic goals and planning for potential challenges in your diabetes care can help squash self-doubt.


Having diabetes can affect your experience at work in numerous ways. If you have diabetes complications, you may be unable to work consistently. It may also be challenging to stay focused or productive. Unfortunately, some people with diabetes may experience workplace discrimination related to presumptions about their diabetes.

Working From Home

In recent years, more employers are moving to a work-from-home model, allowing employees much more flexibility. If you struggle with diabetes management and it interferes with your work, it may be helpful to have a conversation with your employer about your options if you feel comfortable doing so.


Social connections and supportive communities are important for everyone, especially individuals with a chronic disease like type 2 diabetes. Some research suggests that strong social support systems may even help prevent type 2 diabetes and improve one's experience with the condition.

However, diabetes can sometimes interfere with the ability to seek out community.

Friends, family, and peers who want to support loved ones with diabetes can take the initiative to learn more about the disease and the challenges that come with it. There may also be opportunities to attend appointments together, ask questions and show interest, and offer encouragement.

Intimacy and Romantic Relationships

It's not uncommon for people with type 2 diabetes to experience sexual dysfunction as a side effect. This can understandably make it more difficult to form and maintain romantic relationships.

For example, men with type 2 diabetes have twice the risk of low testosterone levels compared to men without diabetes. This can reduce libido (sex drive). However, when low testosterone is remedied with weight loss and/or hormone replacement therapy, many men experience improvement.

Women with diabetes may experience more complicated issues with sexual health. For instance, increasing testosterone levels among post-menopausal women may help improve libido, but long-term research on its effects is lacking. Furthermore, some experts believe women's reduced libido with diabetes may result from many factors, making it more difficult to pinpoint and treat.

If you're experiencing diabetes and intimacy-related challenges, try speaking honestly with your partner or finding a mental health provider specializing in relationships.

Planning for the Future

It can feel daunting to plan for the future when you have type 2 diabetes, but it can help you manage your blood sugar and minimize side effects.

Some ways to plan for your future include:

  • Starting a regular exercise routine
  • Improving your diet
  • Finding a trustworthy social support system
  • Scheduling regular health care visits
  • Adhering to a medication regimen
  • Quitting smoking or excessive drinking

Forming a diabetes care team can also be helpful. For example, having an endocrinologist, optometrist, neurologist, a nephrologist (kidney disease specialist), registered dietitian, and therapist available when needed can reduce stress later.

Setting aside funds if you're able to can also be helpful in case you have more significant health-related expenses in the future. A medical savings account can alleviate financial stress if you need it quickly.


Living with type 2 diabetes is challenging for many reasons. In addition to impacting physical health, it can affect your experiences socially, at work, and in relationships. Making improvements in your lifestyle habits, surrounding yourself with supportive people, and planning for the future will benefit you now and in the long run.

A Word From Verywell

Having type 2 diabetes can feel overwhelming. Find comfort in knowing you're not alone, as millions of people live full, healthy lives with the condition. To improve your overall experience with diabetes, focus on improving your lifestyle habits. Having diabetes does not define who you are, so take it one day at a time and allow small steps to lead to significant improvements.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why does diabetes make me tired?

    Feeling tired is a commonly reported symptom of having diabetes related to fluctuations in blood sugar levels, especially when blood sugar is poorly controlled for long periods. Other factors contributing to diabetes fatigue may include inflammation, poor sleep, low mood, light eating, lack of social support and exercise, and medication side effects.

  • Can diabetes cause erectile dysfunction?

    Diabetes can cause erectile dysfunction in men due to poorly controlled blood sugar levels that can damage blood supply and nerve function. Other contributing factors include having excess weight or obesity, low testosterone levels, smoking or drinking alcohol, medication side effects, and stress.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Lee S, Lee D, Choun S. Determinants of high self-confidence in diabetes management among older diabetes patients. Innovation in Aging, 2017;1(suppl_1):324-325. doi:10.1093/geroni/igx004.1196

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  6. Hendryx M, Nicholson W, Manson JE, et al. Social relationships and risk of type 2 diabetes among postmenopausal women. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B. 2020;75(7):1597-1608. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbz047

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Friends, family & diabetes.

  8. American Diabetes Association. Sex and diabetes.

  9. Kalra S, Sahay R. Diabetes fatigue syndromeDiabetes Ther. 2018;9(4):1421-1429. doi:10.1007/s13300-018-0453-x

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  11. American Diabetes Association. Erectile dysfunction.

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD
Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD, is a plant-based dietitian, writer, and speaker who specializes in helping people bring more plants to their plate. She's a highly respected writer in the health and nutrition space and loves talking about the power of diet. Lauren aims to connect people with the information and resources to live their healthiest, fullest life.