March Issue, 2016


What is Diabetes ?
Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin which aids the body in using glucose. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should. Without sufficient amounts of insulin, sugar builds up in your blood. Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

What are the types of DIABETES?
Type 1 diabetes, which was previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes, may account for about 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, which was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes, may account for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include the following:

  • Age 45 or older
  • Obesity – defined as Body Mass Index (BMI) > 29. (Ideal is less than or equal to 25)
  • Developed diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes)
  • Have a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Are not physically active
  • Belong to certain racial or ethnic groups. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at high risk for type 2 diabetes.

Can DIABETES can be prevented or delayed? YES
Research trials have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed.

Having a condition called pre-diabetes means you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the next three to six years. People with pre-diabetes have blood glucose (sugar) levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. The CDC estimates that about 57 million adults age 20 years and older have pre-diabetes.

The following are strategies that have been studied and shown to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
#1. Losing 10 to 15 percent of your body weight, or about 20 to 25 pounds for a 200-pound person.
#2. Reduce Carbohydrate (Sugars and starches) in diet by 50%. Reduce overall calorie intake with portion control.
#3. Increase physical activity for 30 minutes, five days a week = 150 minutes weekly.
For more information, see the Diabetes Prevention Program Fact Sheet

The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) performed a study (Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study, (DPPOS), on people with elevated fasting glucose ( pre-diabetes). One group was instructed on lifestyle changes with nutrition and exercise, the other group was given medications to lower blood sugar. During the 10 years following the study, the medication group had 18% reduction in developing diabetes whereas the lifestyle changes group had 34% reduction in developing Diabetes.
To learn more about this study, and how to implement the lifestyle changes, read about it:
 Small Steps. Big Rewards. Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

What are the complications of DIABETES?

  1. Kidney failure
  2. Heart disease
  3. Stroke
  4. Blindness
  5. Non healing wounds
  6. Amputations of legs and feet


What if I already have DIABETES?

If you already have diabetes, managing the disease can lower your risk of complications such as kidney failure, heart disease and stroke, blindness, and amputations of legs and feet. Here are some important steps to take to control diabetes:

  • Talk to your health care provider about how to manage your blood glucose (A1C), blood pressure, and cholesterol.
  • Take your medication regularly. Some people can manage their blood sugar with nutrition and exercise. Some people will need oral medication or insulin shots. Your Medical provider will choose the best option for you based on the stage of your disease and your overall health.
  • Get a flu vaccine. For those with diabetes, it is important to ask for the "shot" version. Talk to your health care provider about a pneumonia (pneumococcal) shot. There are new guidelines for the pneumonia vaccine as there now 2 vaccines and it is recommended that you receive both. People with diabetes are more likely to die from pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes.
  • Reach or stay at a healthy weight.
  • Have your feet examined at least twice per year by a health professional.
  • Annual physical exam.
  • Annual eye exam.
  • Make sure you're physically active. Plan for 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) each week of moderate physical activity, such as walking quickly, or 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of vigorous physical activity, such as jogging or jumping rope. Add muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days each week. Physical activity can help you control your weight, blood glucose, and blood pressure, as well as lower your "bad" cholesterol.
  • Consult with a Certified Diabetic Educator or the American Diabetic Association for nutritional guidelines.

For more information:
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
1 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892–3560
Phone: 1–800–860–8747
TTY: 1–866–569–1162
Fax: 703–738–4929

National Diabetes Education Program
1 Diabetes Way 
Bethesda, MD 20892-3560
Phone: 1-800-438-5383
Fax: 703-738-4929

American Diabetes Association
1701 North Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA 22311
Phone: 1-800-DIABETES (342-2383)
Fax: 703-549-6995
Contact: Contact Us

From the Desk of Melissa Skaff-Schultz, MS, ARNP-C.