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November Is National Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes affects 25.8 million Americans, and 79 million Americans are pre diabetic.

Diabetes Mellitus is characterized by high blood glucose concentrations resulting from a defect in insulin secretion, insulin action, or possibly both. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the cells in the pancreas and is necessary for the use/storage of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Diabetes can be divided into two groups: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that causes destruction of the pancreas beta cells, so the body does not produce insulin. It is usually diagnosed in children, but can be diagnosed up until age 30. Type 2 diabetes is a combination of insulin resistance and beta-cell failure. Most people with Type 2 diabetes are obese which can cause insulin resistance.

Risk factors include obesity, diet, genetics (family history), older age, decreased activity, race, and ethnicity.

Although genetics do play a factor in diabetes, there are certain choices one can make to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes:

    • Maintain a healthy and active lifestyle
    • Consume 3 balanced meals a day
    • Watch portion sizes
    • Make at least half your grains whole grain

 Diabetes can be controlled with medical nutrition therapy, exercise, monitoring blood sugars, medication, education, as well as support. Self checking blood sugars at home regularly is a great way to assess glycemic control. Checking blood sugar two hours after eating is a great way to see how your body is processing meals and carbohydrates. Hemoglobin A1c is a lab value used to average a person’s blood sugar over three months, and this is the primary test used for diabetes management.

Carbohydrate counting is a meal planning technique used to manage blood sugar levels. It allows the individual to keep track of how many carbohydrates they consume. Individuals with diabetes can benefit from eating three meals a day, with small healthy snacking in-between. This helps to achieve a consistent glucose level. Diabetics should always eat a protein or healthy fat with a carbohydrate as this allows for the carbohydrate to break down into sugar slowly, thus preventing a spike in glucose levels. Individuals with diabetes can benefit from meeting with a certified diabetes educator who is certified in diabetic diets and blood sugar control.

For more information on diabetes, visit:


Type 1 Diabetes. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Type 2. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Escott-Stump, S. (2015). Nutrition & Diagnosis-Related Care (18th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.



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