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Diet and Disease
The Basics of Diabetes
By: Dan Remley, Ph.D, Regional Nutrition Specialist
Family Nutrition
Education Programs

Nutrition and Lifeskills for Missouri Families

Type I diabetes (juvenile)- disease in which the pancreas does not produce the hormone insulin. Therefore the body does not properly metabolize food resulting in high blood sugar (glucose).

Type II diabetes (adult-onset)- disease in which the body is partially or fully resistant to insulin. Like Type I, the body cannot metabolize food properly and high blood glucose results. Type II accounts for 95% of all cases.

Short-term complications- hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia (see symptoms). Black-outs, coma, and death can result. 

Long-term complications- if blood glucose is not controlled serious complications can result such as eye, kidney, and nerve diseases. People with diabetes are also at greater risk for cardiovascular complications.

Diabetes management regimes- blood sugar is controlled by balancing food (meal plans), medication, and exercise.

Meal plans- individualized to patient's caloric needs, but based on food guide pyramid. Ideally, timing and make-up of meals and snacks should be consistent. Some examples of meal plans are the exchange plan, carbohydrate counting, and month-of-meals.

Medication- shots, pills and other medications should be taken consistently at certain times of the day (usually before meals). These medications help lower blood glucose.

Blood glucose monitoring- Blood glucose is monitored at certain times of the day. Adjustments to the diabetes regimen are made based on readings.

Other issues to consider:

  • People with diabetes should wear bracelets.
  • Never alienate a child with diabetes. Always allow the diabetic child to participate in parties, snacks, etc. Plan ahead if the diabetes regimen could be interrupted. Work with the school nurse, parents, etc. in order that adjustments can be made so the child can participate.
  • Teachers should know signs of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.
  • With adolescents, watch for signs of depression and drug use.
  • There are no restrictions on foods. Contrary to popular belief, people with diabetes can have sweets and use sugar in moderation!

Related Topics

 

Other Diet and Disease Educational Support Materials:
Cancer  Diabetes  Heart Disease  Hypertension 
Osteoporosis  Phytochemicals

 

 

 
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last updated: 10/27/08
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