Diabetes Handout

Diabetes Handout
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD) (n.d), diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body’s glucose levels are high, also referred to as the blood sugar levels. Glucose is mainly derived from the diet. The level of glucose in the body is regulated by insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas.

There are three main types of diabetes; type 1 and type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes. In all type one diabetes, the body attacks the pancreas cells that secrete insulin; hence, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to meet its demands. It mainly occurs in children and young adults, though it can also be diagnosed at any age.  In type 2 diabetes, the body produces enough insulin; however, it is not sensitive and doesn’t use the insulin as needed. This type of diabetes can occur at any age and is the most common type of diabetes. A person with type 2 diabetes is not mainly dependent on insulin injection but takes other oral medications.  Gestational diabetes occurs in some women during pregnancy and always resolves after childbirth. Having gestational diabetes increases the likelihood of having Type 2 diabetes later in life (American Diabetes Association (ADA), n.d).

Risk Factors

There are various risks factor for diabetes, primarily type 2 diabetes. Being above 45 years old increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Other risk factors include family history, overweight, high blood pressure, having prediabetes, race, ethnicity and gestational diabetes.  Having diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, eye and dental problems, and nerve damages overtime; hence there is a need to take medications and engage in precautionary measures throughout (NIDDKD, n.d).


To ensure that one does not develop diabetes, the following measures should be taken. There is a need to have and maintain a healthy body weight and basal mass index (BMI). A BMI of more than 26 is not healthy; hence, it should be below 25. Additionally, physical activity helps reduce the risk. One should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise in a week. Other practices include taking a healthy diet (excluding fats and sugars in the diet) and avoiding smoking (American Diabetes Association (ADA), n.d).

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is made using a blood sugar test that is inexpensive and accessed in most clinics.  Diabetes is a chronic disease; hence medication and treatments last for a lifetime. Treatment includes physical activity, taking healthy diets free from sugars, and sutured fats. The strategies help lower the blood sugar levels and other risk factors that can damage the blood vessels. Smoking cessation also is essential, as in the World Health Organization (WHO) (2020).

Type 2 diabetes is mostly managed using oral medication such as metformin and acarbose, among other medication classes. The most common one is metformin. This type sometimes may also require insulin later in life if the medication does not work. The administration of insulin mainly manages type 1 diabetes. Additionally, there is foot care. Since diabetes can nerve damage, there is a need for foot hygiene by putting on soft shoes, ensuring sharps are not in the footwear’s and walking using footwear’s mostly, as in the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), (2019).

Other interventions include consistent eye screening because of retinopathy that can lead to blindness, blood lipid control to manage the level of cholesterols, and screening for the onset of complications in various organs like the kidney (WHO, 2020).

Important Tips

The foods that one can take include vegetables like broccoli, carrots, greens, pepper, etc. other include fruits, whole grains, non or low-fat dairy ( yogurt, cheese), and protein ( lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and peanuts, dried beans, and tofu).  Always follow the medications’ instructions on when they should be taken, the timing before or after meals to achieve maximum control on the sugars. Regular testing of blood sugars can be done at home before self-injection with insulin. Involve family members to help you take medications (NIDDKD, n.d; CDC, 2019)

Three Internet Sources for Dietary Information about Diabetes

  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity)
  2. American Diabetes Association (ADA) website (https://www.diabetes.org/nutrition)
  3. Segal, J., Robinson, L., & Smith, M. (2019). The diabetes diet. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/diets/the-diabetes-diet.htm

The above internet sources provide valuable information regarding the type of diet and nutrition plan that most diabetic patients should engage in. the sources also provide a list of various foods that they are not required to consume regularly and also as it guides the diabetic patient in creating a nutrition plan that can best optimize their health condition. Therefore, these resources can be utilized by a diabetic patient to have a healthy nutrition and meals.


American Diabetes Association (ADA). (n.d). Diabetes. https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2019, May 30). Diabetes basics. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/index.html

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (n.d). What is diabetes? https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes

World Health Organization. (2020, June 8). Diabetes. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes

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