What is Diabetes?

Importance of Diabetes education

Diabetes is one of chronic, yet manageable, diseases. Therefore, understanding of disease is crucial for the Diabetes patients to live healthy life.
Early diagnose of Diabetes and interventions can prevent further Diabetes complications.
Diabetes education promotes public wellness.

Definition of Diabetes

Cause: Grains, Meats and other certain types of foods breakdown into glucose. Some glucose used as source of energy immediately with the help of Insulin, hormone that secreted from pancreas, and rest of glucose get stored in liver or in muscle tissues.

Insulin helps cells to take in glucose to be used for energy so our body function includes thinking.

Classification of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes: Insulin dependent Diabetes. Pancreas cannot create any insulin at all in the body. Patients with Type 1 Diabetes require insulin injection for glycemic control and individuals usually diagnosed as Type 1 Diabetes before age of 30 years old.

Type 2 Diabetes: Insulin Independent Diabetes. Pancreas creates insulin but either pancreas create too little of insulin or body cannot use insulin properly (Insulin resistance). Patients with Type 2 Diabetes usually diagnosed after age of 40 years old due to risk factors such as Obesity.

Other types of Diabetes: Gestational Diabetes, Renal glycosuria, Glucose intolerance etc.

Epidemiology of Diabetes
Approximately 2400 million people suffer from Diabetes. Among that population, 1 million has Type 1 Diabetes and 8 million does not even know that they have Diabetes.
Risk factors of Diabetes
  • Age over 40 years old
  • Family history of Diabetes
  • Overweight or “Apple” body shape
  • Pregnancy
  • Individuals who are taking multiple medications
  • Individuals who had major surgery (Regular health check-up is recommended)
Symptoms of Diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes:

  • Frequent Urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Tiredness

(Onset of all of symptom is fast)

Type 2 Diabetes:

  • Frequent Urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Extreme fatigue
  • A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent inflammation and slow to heal
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Red, swollen, tender and itching skin
  • Increased vaginal discharge (Female)

(Onset of symptom is slow and sometimes blood glucose level may rise without any symptoms)
Prevention of Diabetes and Methods of glycemic control

Insulin dependent Type

  • Genetic (no prevention)
  • Insulin injection, healthy diet, Regular exercise
  • (Insulin injection decreases the blood glucose while food increases the blood glucose level, therefore, one should inject himself/herself at the same time as day before).
  • Insulin Independent Type
  • Maintain Ideal body weight, Healthy diet, Regular exercise
  • First of all, individualized meal plan and maintain ideal body weight is essential. If regular exercise and healthy diet are not enough to bring down high blood glucose level to normal range, initiate pharmacotherapy, starting with low dose and titrate up. If blood glucose level is still high even with pharmacotherapy, insulin injection is required. Healthy diet and regular exercise should be continued with pharmacotherapy and insulin injection.

Importance of Testing

1. Urine test:
2. Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) Test/Random Plasma glucose Test

  • These test checks your glucose level with drop of blood by using glucometer. The advantage of these tests is that you can find out your present blood glucose level on the spot. Yet, a test strip is expensive and some may not like pricking the finger.

3. A1C Test

  • A1C test measures your average blood glucose for the past 3 months. The advantages of being diagnosed this way are that you don’t have to fast or drink anything.

4. Ketone test

  • Ketone test checks for ketones in blood or urine. Ketones are made when the body breaks down fat for energy. If ketone test confirms the existence of ketone in blood or urine, see the doctor immediately. Existence of ketone may indicate that your body can’t use blood sugar properly and immediate glycemic control is required.

1. Hypoglycemia

  • Hypoglycemia also called as insulin shock. Common signs of hypoglycemia:
  • Tremors, Nervousness or anxiety, sweating, confusion, pallor, Hunger, fatigue
  • Symptoms present when one
  • Rule of 15: 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate (glucose tablets, regular soda, orange juice, or crackers. Waiting 15 minutes and then testing blood glucose levels again. If still low, repeat the process.
  • Hypoglycemia can lead to seizures or unconsciousness
  • If patient is unconscious, glucagon injection may require.

2. Hyperglycemia

  • Hyperglycemia happens when one ate too much food, use of inappropriate dose of medication, inflammation in body, extreme stress
  • Common signs of hyperglycemia
  • High levels of sugar in the urine, frequent urination, increased thirst, nausea
5 Important ways to control blood glucose

1. Medical Nutrition Therapy

  • Choose right food
  • Limit daily calorie intake
  • Balanced meal plan

2. Exercise

  • Regular exercise increases metabolism and decreases blood glucose level.

3. Pharmacotherapy

  • Only Type 1 Diabetes absolutely requires insulin injection due to absolute insulin deficiency.

4. Self-testing

  • Regular self-blood glucose test ensures how well diabetes is managed throughout the day. Also, patient can handle the emergency situation faster. (Hypoglycemia/Hyperglycemia).

5. Education

  • Understand Diabetes is very important because patient can overcome different medical situations that he or she can face.
  • Education is the key to taking charge of your diabetes.
Medical Nutritional Therapy

1. Nutriment

  • It is true that diabetes patients should avoid sugar. Both sugar and starch increase glucose level. However, almost every food such as meat, milk, fruit juice etc., increase glucose level as well. Therefore, patients with diabetes need food restriction. Best way to learn more about meal plan is too see nutritionist. Everyone should have different meal plan depends on his or her health status.

2. Ideal body weight

  • Maintaining Ideal body weight helps cells to utilize glucose better. Also helps to keep blood pressure and cholesterol level in normal range.

3. Balanced meal plan

  • ncrease Complex carbohydrates (e.g. whole grains) intake. Avoid any food that contains too much of sugar (e.g. honey, jam, jelly, syrup, soft drinks, pie, cake) Increase fiber intake (e.g. fruit, vegetables). Decrease saturated fat intake. Decrease sodium intake. Make sure to eat at regular time of the day and similar portion of meal each time. Check blood glucose after each meal.

4. How to calculate ideal body weight?

  • Males: IBW = 106+ (6x inches in ht. above 5 ft.)= Ideal wt. in pound
    • Example 6’2’’ man
      • Example 6’2’’ man
  • Females: IBW= 105+ (5x inches in ht. above 5 ft.)= Ideal wt. in pounds
    • Example: 5’5’’ woman
    • 105 + (5 x 5) = 130 +/- 10% = 117-143 pounds

5. How to calculate daily calorie needs?

  • Calculate BMR
    • Female: 65+ (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7x age in years)
    • Male: 66 + (6.3 weight in pounds) + (12.9 height in inches) = (6.8x age in years)
    • If you are sedentary: BMR x20%
    • If you are lightly active: BMR x30%
    • If you ae moderately active (You exercise most days a week): BMR x40%
    • If you are very active ( you exercise intensely on a daily basis or for prolonged periods): BMR x 50%
    • If you are extra active ( you do hard labor or are in athletic training): BMR x 60%
    • Add this number to your BMR

6. How to increase daily activity to lose weight?

  • Every 3500 calories is equivalent to one pound. If you exercise to burn off 500 calories a day you should lose approximately one pound per week. Ideally, you should do a combination of both such as cut back 250 calories and burn an extra 250 calories by exercising or increase daily activity. 1 hour of fast paced walking and 30 minutes of running can burn extra 250 calories.
  • A healthy weight loss goal is to lose 1/2 pounds to 2 pounds per week. Losing more than 2 pounds per week will mean that weight is less likely to stay off permanently. Never cut back to fewer than 1200 daily calories for female and 1500 calories for male without medical supervision.

7. How to design balanced meal plan?

  • Once you know how much calories you need per day, next step is to design balanced meal. “Meal swap” method can be adapted to plan balanced meal. Among six food groups (Vegetables and fruits, grains and fiber, protein, fats), decide how many calories you are going to consume from each food group and swap within same group. For example, you can eat 1/2 bagel (approximately 1 oz) instead of 1/2 cup of sugar-frosted cereal.

8. How to calculate calories?

  • Once you know how much calories you need per day, next step is to design balanced meal. “Meal swap” method can be adapted to plan balanced meal. Among six food groups (Vegetables and fruits, grains and fiber, protein, fats), decide how many calories you are going to consume from each food group and swap within same group. For example, you can eat 1/2 bagel (approximately 1 oz) instead of 1/2 cup of sugar-frosted cereal.

Carbohydrates in diabetes management

  • 200 grams of carbohydrates per day (45-60 grams per meal; 15-20 grams for snacks) 1 gram of Carbohydrates is equivalent to 4 calories.
  • Includes carbohydrate from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat milk
  • Monitoring carbohydrate, whether by carbohydrate counting, exchanges, or experienced-based estimation, remain a key strategy in achieving glycemic control.
  • The use of glycemic index and load provides only modest benefit
  • Sucrose-containing foods can be substituted for other carbohydrates as part of the meal plan
  • Avoid excess calories (adjust to maintain desirable weight or prevent weight gain)
  • Consume a variety of fiber containing foods (20-30 grams of dietary fiber per day)
  • Sugar alcohols and nonnutritive sweeteners are safe within recommended daily intake levels

Fat and cholesterol in diabetes management

  • Limit saturated fat to 7% of total calories (each gram of fat provides 9 calories)
    • 9 x total grams of fat in diet = calories from fat
    • Calories from fat ÷ total calories = % fat of total calories
  • Minimize intake of trans fat and reduce dietary cholesterol to 200 mg/day
  • Two or more servings of fish per week provide n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Protein in diabetes management
  • If normal renal function, no need to restrict usual protein intake (15–20% of calories)
  • Protein should not be used to treat acute or prevent nighttime hypoglycemia (increases insulin response without increase blood glucose concentrations)

9. Note:

  • TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Change Diet
  • Limit Saturated and Trans Fats in the Diet
  • Limit Cholesterol Intake to 200mg/day
  • Increased consumption of Omega-3’s
  • Aim for 20-30g of fiber each day
    • Fiber found in Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes
    • Think fiber, think water (Doubles in size in the stomach)
  • Focus on a plant based diet
    • Consume less animal proteins and products
    • Do not eliminate protein, replace it (beans, soy, nuts/seeds)
  • Limit the total amount of fat in Diet
    • (55% calories from carbohydrates, 20% calories from protein, 25 calories from fat)

Alcohol in diabetes management

  • Limit daily intake to one drink per day or less for women and two drinks per day or less for men
  • To reduce risk of nocturnal hypoglycemia in individuals using insulin or insulin secretagogues, alcohol should be consumed with food
  • Carbohydrate coingested with alcohol (as in a mixed drink) may raise blood glucose

1. Type 1 Diabetes

  • Intermediate or Long-acting Basal Insulin AND pre-meal Rapid or Short Acting Insulin

2. Type 2 Diabetes:

  • Healthy Diet and Exercise prior to initiation of any pharmacotherapy.

3. Biguanides

  • Metformin (Glucophage, Glucophage XR®)
  • Primarily decreases hepatic glucose production and also increases peripheral insulin sensitivity. (Opens the door of cells so glucose can be utilize better)
  • 1st line agent in most patients
  • No hypoglycemia risk
  • Monitor diarrhea and abdominal cramping. It can be reduced by taking with food)

4. 2nd Generation Sulfonylureas

  • Glimepiride(Amaryl®)
  • Glipizide (Glucotrol®, Glucotrol XL®)
  • Glyburide (Diabeta®, Micronase®)
  • Micronized glyburide (Glynase®)
  • Stimulates insulin secretion from the pancreas
  • 2nd line agent
  • Risk of Hypoglycemia is very common
  • Any agent should be taken before meals

5. Combination of Biaguanides and 2nd generation Sulfonylureas

  • Glipizide/Metformin (Metaglip®)
  • Glyburide/Metformin Glucovanc®)

6. a-glucosidase inhibitors

  • Acarbose (Precose®)
  • Miglitol (Glyset®)
  • Prevent digestion of Carbohydrates

7. Thiazolidinediones

  • Pioglitazone (Actos®)
  • Pioglitazone/Metformin (ActosPlusMet®)
  • Primarily increase insulin sensitivity. Also decreases hepatic glucose output

8. Meglitinide

  • Repaglinide (Prandin®)
  • Nateglinde (Starlix®)
  • Increase insulin secretion from pancreas

9. Amylin Mimetics

  • Pramlintide (Symlin®)
  • Slows down the movement of food through the intestine. This slows down the absorption of glucose from the intestine, which reduces sudden increases in blood glucose.

10. GLP-1 AG(incretin Mimetic)

  • Exenatide (Byetta®)
  • Exenatide ER (Byduron®)
  • Liraglutide (Victoza®)
  • Dulaglutide(Trulicity*)
  • Increases insulin and decrease glucagon when glucose levels are elevated, increases satiety

9. DPP-IV Inhibitors

  • Sitaglipitin (Januvia®)
  • Sitagliptin/Metformin (Janumet®)
  • Saxgliptin(Trajenta*)
  • Saxgliptin/Metformin(Jentadueto*)
  • linagliptin (Onglyza®)
  • alogliptin (Nesina®)
  • alogliptin/metformin(Kazano*)
  • slogliptin/pioglitazon(Oseni*)
  • Prevents incretin breakdown

10. SLGT-2

  • Canagliflozin (Invokana®)
  • Canagliflozin/Metformin(Invocamet*)
  • Dapagliflozin(Farxiga*)
  • Dapagliflozin/Metformon(Xigduo XR)
  • Empagliflozin(Jandiance*)
  • Empagliflozin/linagliptin(Glyzambi*)
  • Reduces renal glucose reabsorption and increasing urinary excretion of glucose

How Insulin works in our body?
The body naturally makes different amounts of insulin at different times. Smaller, steady amounts are produced between meals and overnight (sometimes called basal or background insulin). Larger amounts are produced when you eat (sometimes called bolus insulin). Together, they can help manage your blood sugar (glucose) all day, every day.

Because you can’t make insulin or don’t make enough for your body’s needs when you have diabetes, you may need to use more than one type of manufactured insulin to get the same effect. These different types of insulin work at different rates and for different amounts of time.

5 Types of Insulin

Basal insulins: Basal insulins include intermediate-acting and longer-acting insulins. These start lowering blood sugar more slowly and last longer than faster-acting insulins. A doctor may recommend taking basal insulin once or twice a day

Faster-acting insulins: Faster-acting insulins include rapid-acting and short-acting insulins. Rapid-acting insulin starts working very quickly and for the shortest time. Short-acting insulin starts working more slowly and longer than rapid-acting insulin

Premixed insulins: Premixed insulins contain a mix of both basal and faster-acting insulins in one solution. They can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar at meals, between meals, and even at night, depending on their treatment plan

Basal Insulin

Intermediate Long-acting
NPH (Humulin N, Novolin N) Long-acting
Onset 1hr-1.5hr 1hr
Peak 4-12hrs Peakless (less hypoglycemia)
Duration 12-24hrs (T1: 12, T2:24) 24hrs 8-24hrs (dose dependent)
Regimen BID at breakfast and dinner (or HS)-T1 OR QD at dinner or HS QD @ same time 1. QD dinner or HS(T1)
2. BID in AM and Dinner(or HS)
color cloudy Clear
Mix Can be mixed with
1. Regular
2. Rapid acting insulin By patient or commercially available products
Cannot be mixed with other insulin

Bolus insulin

Short acting Rapid acting
Regular (humulin R, Novolin R) Lispro (Humalog) Aspart(novolog) Glulisine(Apidra
Onset 30min 10-30min
Peak 1-3hrs 30min -1hr
Duration 6-10hrs 3-5hrs (less hypoglycemia)
Regimen 30min before meal 5-10min before meal
mixture 1. Humulin R 70/30
2. Novolin R 70/30
1. Humalog mix 50/50
2. Humalog 75/25
1. Novolog mix 70/30 Can be mixed with NPH

1. How insulin measured?
Just as your height is measured in inches, your insulin dose is measured in units. A unit is a set amount of pure insulin.

Most vials of insulin sold in the United States have 100 units of insulin in each milliliter of fluid. Such vials have U-100 on the label. The amount of insulin in a milliliter is called the insulin’s concentration. Each vial contains 1000 units

Most prefilled insulin pens contain 300 units. A box of 5 prefilled insulin pens contains 1500 units, the same amount of insulin as 1.5 vials

2. Handling and storing Insulin
When insulin is not handled and stored properly, it may not work right, so be sure to read the directions that are packaged with your insulin supplies.

To keep insulin in good condition, you must do the following:

  • Keep your extra supply of insulin in the refrigerator
  • Never let your insulin freeze
  • If you use a vial, keep the vial you are currently using in the refrigerator whenever possible
  • Any unused pens should be stored in the refrigerator
  • The pen you are currently using should not be stored in the refrigerator
  • Keep unrefrigerated insulin as cool as possible (below 86°F) and away from heat and light
  • Never shake your insulin hard or let it get tossed around. Insulin that’s handled roughly is more likely to clump or frost

3. How to inject insulin
1. Check

  • Check insulin for type and expiration date

2. Remove

  • Upon first use, Remove the flat, colored cap but not the rubber stopper or meal band under the cap
  • Clean rubber stopper with an alcohol swab
  • Remove cover from needle
  • Pull plunger back to pull air into syringe until the tip or the plunger is at the line for the number of units required for your dose

4. Push

  • Push needle through rubber stopper
  • Make sure the tip of the needle is not in the insulin
  • Press the plunger to push air into the vial of insulin

5. Fill

  • Turn the vial and syringe upside down so that the tip of the needle is in the insulin
  • Holding the vial with one hand, pull back on the plunger to pull insulin into the syringe. Stop when the pluger is at the line for your dose
  • Check there ar no large air bullbes in the syringe. If there are, use the plunger to push the insulin back into the vial and repeat step 5.

6. Insert

  • Choose an injection site where the skin is clean
  • Pinch a large area of skin and push the needle straight into the skin all the way at a 90-degree angle
  • Push the plunger all the way down to injects the insulin into your body.

7. Release

  • Release the pinched skin, count to 5 slowly, and pull the needle straight out
  • Do not rub your injection site
  • Safely dispose of used needle and syringe as directed by your healthcare provider
Importance of Insulin Injection
  1. Know the different types of insulin and discuss which treatment plan with insulin is right for you with your primary physician
  2. It is better to inject in the morning if you chose once daily insulin injection treatment plan.
  3. Rotate injection site every 30 days
  4. Insulin will be absorbed rapidly if you inject in abdominal area then, arms. Insulin will be absorbed slowly if you inject in legs.
  5. Insulin dose adjustment is necessary depends on blood glucose level.
  6. It is better to keep extra vial of insulin near you.
  7. It is better to have extra vial of “Regular” insulin to respond quickly to hyperglycemic episode.
  8. Dispose the syringe after first use. New syringes have thin needs to reduce the pain.
Importance of Insulin Injection
  1. Know the different types of insulin and discuss which treatment plan with insulin is right for you with your primary physician
  2. It is better to inject in the morning if you chose once daily insulin injection treatment plan.
  3. Rotate injection site every 30 days
  4. Insulin will be absorbed rapidly if you inject in abdominal area then, arms. Insulin will be absorbed slowly if you inject in legs.
  5. Insulin dose adjustment is necessary depends on blood glucose level.
  6. It is better to keep extra vial of insulin near you.
  7. It is better to have extra vial of “Regular” insulin to respond quickly to hyperglycemic episode.
  8. Dispose the syringe after first use. New syringes have thin needs to reduce the pain.

Initiating Insulin

  1. Decide which treatment plan with insulin is right for you with your primary physician based on your lifestyle. Once you start insulin injection, make sure you measure blood glucose level more frequently.
  2. Use an empiric dose (best “estimate” based on actual weight). Usually, 10-15 units daily.
  3. Initial total daily dose of Type 1 Diabetes patient is usually 0.5-0.7U/kg/day.
  4. Initial total daily dose of Type 2 Diabetes patient is usually 0.3-0.5U/kg/day.

1. NPH insulin injection Once daily treatment

  • Many patients prefer this treatment because it is simple and do not need to inject more than once in the morning before breakfast. You can test your blood glucose level in the afternoon (aroudn4pm.m) and adjust insulin dose for next day.

2. Humulin(Novolin) 70/30 or Humalog 75/25 once daily in the morning treatment

  • If NPH insulin once daily injection treatment is insufficient to bring blood glucose level within normal range, Humulin(Novolin) 70/30 or Humalog 75/25 once daily in the morning treatment is another option. Pre-mixed insulin is convenient but cannot change the proportion of each insulin.

3. Humulin(novolin)70/30 in the morning with Regular insulin at bedtime injection treatment
4. Humalog(Novolin) 70/30
5. Humalog or Regular Three times a day before meal treatment

  • Recommended for patients who have scheduled meal time.

6. Lantus once daily at bedtime
7. Lantus once daily at bedtime with Regular insulin injection three times daily before meal

There is no required routine for shots. It is recommended to have various experiences through diets, exercises, and other environmental factors and then decide on which is most comfortable and works the best. But meals should be taken on specified time of the day and candies should be on handy to prepare for low glucose level. It is also important to continue checking on the weight gain. It is recommended to keep a diary to note on the instances when blood glucose tends to increase a lot, so the injections can be used to lower the glucose level if necessary.


It is imperative to follow 5 steps for diabetes: Diet, exercise, medication, examination, and education. Among these steps, Examination step is to check on the current status of health and this step helps to plan for treatment and the observe the progression of the condition.

  1. Diabetes is diagnosed through various tests.
  2. Amount of medications are determined according to the severity of the condition.
  3. The importance of diet planning and exercises are recognized.
  4. Restart blood glucose level management
  5. Examination becomes the basis of glucose level management
Types of Examinations

Glucose Urine Test

The advantage of glucose urine test is one can perform it anytime and anywhere. On the other hand, the disadvantage of the test is that the result does not represent the current glucose level and one can only depend on the color to estimate the result. It is difficult to accurately determine the glucose level from this.

To estimate whether glucose level is well maintained, this test becomes a very useful tool. Dip the test strip into the urine sample and let it sit for approximately 10-30 seconds, and then the color of the test strip is observed and recorded. The results are recorded as 0, +, ++, +++, and when 3 out of 4 test results are shown as 0 (no urinal glucose), then it is assumed that glucose level is maintained well.

Glucose urine test is recommended before mealtime, and when performed in the morning, it is recommended to be taken during the second urination after drinking a cup of water. When glucose level needs to be monitored closely, urine test is performed 4 times a day (before each mealtime and at bedtime) and when the condition improves, the test is performed 1-2 times for every 2-3 days. Some medications and vitamins such as aspirin and vitamin C may influence the urine test results and may lead to negative result when the actual glucose level is high. When such results are suspected it is recommended to consult a doctor.

Urine test methods include Test Tape, Diastix, and Clinistix. When the glucose level above 2% is observed for every urine test, it is advised to also take the ketone test through Keto-Diastix or Keto-Clinistix. When the presence of ketone is confirmed through this ketone test then it is very important to go to the doctor immediately.

Ketone is produced when the blood glucose level drops significantly and the body starts to burn fat for energy. (To picture this easily, think about burning desks and books when there are no trees (fuel) left to burn for heat in winter. The smoke, produced from burning desks and books, is analogous to the ketone)

Blood glucose test

While blood glucose test allows an accurate measurement of current glucose level, the biggest downsides are that it requires drawing blood and the price of the test is higher than that of glucose urine test. But the development of blood glucose test methods are growing very fast so that patients can use this test easily at home.

The blood glucose test is recommended to be performed frequently for following patients: those who need insulin injections, those who are diagnosed as pregnancy diabetes (gestational diabetes), those who have difficulty in distinguishing colors, those who have poor vision, and lastly those who have tried other glucose tests but failed to obtain the accurate result.

The blood glucose test is recommended to be performed before breakfast (normal level is below 120), an hour and a half after dinner (normal level is ~170), and patients who receive insulin injections every morning before breakfast need to take this test at 4pm to properly measure the amount of insulin (normal range is 120-160).

If the blood glucose level goes above 250 when tested at 4pm, it means the amount of insulin injected in the morning is insufficient, and if the glucose level stays at 100 then the amount of insulin is too much. The record of the dates, time, and test results become a very helpful resource to the doctor on planning treatment.

Hemoglobin A1c Test
Hemoglobin is produced from bone marrow and is found in red blood cells. It contributes to delivery of oxygen to cells and prevents anemia. The hemoglobin usually lasts about 120 days and it also contains a certain amount of glucose depending on how much the bloodstream contains glucose. Therefore, the result of this test became important in examining the average blood glucose level for past 3-4 months, and the treatment plans are also based on this result. The downside of this test is that the blood sample needs to be sent to the laboratory. But the test machine is available for purchase yet expensive and there are also companies that take the tests through mail orders. The test strips are also on the pricey side. When the test result is 7.0 (equivalent of 150 in blood glucose level), the blood glucose level for the past 3 months is considered to have been well maintained, and the maximum normal range is 8.0 (equivalent of 180 in blood glucose level). The highest blood glucose level that a machine can measure is 14.0.

Development of glucose test methods

Many diabetic patients have been wishing for glucose tests that do not require drawing blood, but there has not been significant progress on this method.

Gluco Watch, the company that introduced the watch-type blood glucose test to the market, had to close due to lack of accuracy and reasonable pricing competition. The most useful method is to use both blood glucose test and glucose urine test regularly and also perform the test to measure the 3-month glucose level.

Complication Management

Chronic Complications
There are 3 conditions that need to be constantly monitored: blood pressure, diabetes, and glaucoma. These conditions need to be examined and treated regularly, since surgery option is not available. If these conditions stay untreated, lots of complications arise. Complications of diabetes include retinopathy due to bursting of blood vessels of the eyes, and usually these complications start before one could realize.

Eventually these complication may cause blindness and also lead to nerve damages which would cause pain on fingers. When infections arise this may lead to amputation in worst cases. When protein leaks from the kidney, it may cause nephropathy and high blood pressure, eventually leading to hemodialysis.

The body would not be able to prepare against infections, and this will increase tinea pedis on feet, urinary tract infection for women. When urinary bladder functions improperly, one cannot urinate normally and stomach functions are also interrupted due to nerve damages. Extremely low glucose levels also bring significant damages to the brain. Moreover, infections on nerves also weakens the senses and cellular activities are also weakened due to low oxygen levels. These complications worsen once infections are started as well.

** Preventative Measures for Complications

1. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohols once diagnosed as diabetes
2. Monitor and maintain blood pressure, cholesterol level, and fat levels at a normal range
3. Perform blood glucose tests regularly to make sure to stay in normal range
4. Try to maintain average blood glucose level from 3-month period at 7.0
5. Regularly visit doctors for routine check ups

Acute Complications
I. Hypoglycemia (Low glucose level)

I. Hypoglycemia (Low glucose level)
Many diabetic patients have experienced the moment of low glycemic level. The symptoms of hypoglycemia are being chilliness, shivering, and cold sweat, and in these cases sugar such as orange juice and candies need to be taken immediately. The instances of low glucose levels are when one took an excessive amount of medications, did strenuous exercises, or skipped a meal. If low glycemic condition goes untreated properly, it may make one very difficult to talk and sometimes unconscious. Then 911 needs to be called immediately and if glucagon shots are available, they may be given to the patient.

II. Hyperglycemia (High glucose level)
Symptoms of high glucose level is not as dangerous as those of low glucose level, but they include increased urination , thirstiness, and hunger, along with weight loss and vision weakness. If high glycemic condition goes untreated, ketones are accumulated which make the body very acidic, and in extreme cases it may lead to death. It is very important to evaluation the reasons for such high glucose level and plan a treatment. One needs to monitor whether he/she takes a balanced diet and proper amount of medication.

Foot Care

When patients with diabetes pay less attention to foot care, it may lead to foot ulcers and gangrene, and even amputation in worst cases.

The immune functions of patients with diabetes rapidly weaken when blood glucose level increases and blood circulation is poor due to atherosclerosis. Therefore, bacterial infections occur easily on small cuts and bruises on feet. When this condition is not treated properly on time, it may lead to gangrene, meaning death of areas of the feet such as toes.

In order to prevent complications involving feet due to atherosclerosis and neuritis, blood circulation throughout the legs and feet needs to be maintained well. Also, blood glucose level needs to be regulated well to prevent the progression of complications.

  1. Carefully observe the feet whether there are cuts or tinea pedis.
  2. The feet should not be kept too dry or too damp. It is recommended to wash one’s feet everyday in warm water, and dry them properly with a dry towel. If the feet become too dry, then massage them with lotion for moisturization.
  3. Avoid heat. Patients with diabetes may be more affected by heat due to weakened sensitivity level, so it is easier to get burns and frostbites.
  4. Toenails are recommended to be cut when they become soft after washing feet. They need to be clipped horizontally and not too short, and if there are ingrown toenails then visit the physician.
  5. Avoid small shoes or heels. Shoes with heels increase the chance of callus formation, and in this case the patient should not attempt to remove it by cutting it or using the removal medication.
  6. When the sensitivity of the feet weakens, feet are more prone to cuts and bruises. Patients should not go on barefoot, and flip flops are also not recommended due to low protection.
  7. In order to increase blood circulation, avoid corsets, belts, or tight socks that might interfere the circulation. It is recommended to wear socks that are made for easy absorbance of sweat. Avoid crossing legs, and it is recommended to bend the legs occasionally and exercise ankles as well.
  8. Avoid smoking which also interrupts blood circulation.
Other Precaution Measures

A. Skin: Skin is the outermost layer that protects our body and releases any impurities through sweat along with regulation of heat and relay of senses. Patients with diabetes take a longer time to completely heal from burns or cuts on skin. Especially they tend to suffer more from infections. It is very important to take a shower frequently and apply lotion for hydration of skin. If there are cuts or swelling of skin that involves pain, one needs to go to the doctor immediately.

B. Mouth: Always maintain a clean state of mouth by brushing teeth, flossing, and massaging of gum. Also it is recommended to have a regular dental check up for every 6 months, and one needs to inform the dentist that he/she has diabetes. Always go to see a doctor if there are oral infections or any discomfort.

C. Eyes: One of the common symptoms of hyperglycemia (high glucose level) is blurred vision. This symptom disappears when blood glucose level returns to normal. It is recommended to have a vision check up for prescription glasses when blood glucose level is at a normal range. Blurred vision may also appear when blood glucose level drops. When diabetes persists for several years, capillaries of the eyes thicken and vision may become worse when retinopathy comes in. Regular vision check up for every 6 months is also recommended.

D. Alcohol: Blood glucose tends to decrease by alcohol consumption, since alcohol blocks the production of carbohydrates in the stomach and therefore prevents the replenishment of glucose. But individuals with consistent alcohol consumption also may have a normal range of average blood glucose level from 3 months. But it is recommended to stop drinking to regulate diabetes.

E. Smoking: Patients with diabetes tend to have more frequent medical conditions involving blood streams, and nicotine from smoking contracts the blood vessels and thickens which is very bad. It is very important to stop smoking for good blood circulation.


** Nature of Exercises
There are many advantages of exercises for patients with diabetes. Exercises help weight management, prevention of heart diseases, lowers blood glucose levels and increases insulin effects, therefore helps regulation of blood glucose. Exercises include, but not limited to, swimming, tennis, and skiing. Most Americans do not exercise regularly, and only less than 15% of Americans follow the recommended routine of exercises.

As an example, it is recommended to do aerobics for 20-60minutes for 3-5days a week, and strength training (sit-up, push-up, weight lifting) for at least 2 days a week. It is reported that 40 % of people exercise but do not see any effect due to low frequency and intensity, and the remaining 45% do not even exercise. Especially spending the day sitting down becomes the great obstacle for patients with diabetes. A recent research showed that inconsistent exercise is no different than no exercise.

** To begin exercise:

  1. Choosing exercise routine: It is important to choose an exercise that would help one’s body. Also, consider the location or price of the necessary equipments for exercises. For example, weather may come into consideration for choosing which exercise to do. Indoor exercises could be done in cold weather to replace any outdoor activities.
  2. Exercise Planning: It would not be a problem if exercise is already a part of daily routine. It is important to specifically plan dates, time to be spent for exercising every week, and the planning should be also practical to the daily routine which includes work. It is recommended to exercise about 30 minutes to 1 hour after meals which is the time for blood glucose increase, otherwise it is also a great idea to have a snack 30 minutes before exercise. Also it is important to have a snack or glucose medication ready to respond to the low glucose level.
  3. Exercise duration: It is recommended to start exercising at a point where it would not harm the health in the beginning. It is also great to consult a doctor before exercising. When initial time duration for exercises is set to 5 minutes, and then slowly increase the duration as day goes on– increasing about 10% from last week’s duration is recommended.
  4. Intensity of Exercise: Exercises requires lots of effort. But it is important not to over exercise in the beginning; when it is too exhausting after exercise then it indicates over exercising. It is important to regulate muscle contractions and breathing patterns while exercising. If there are too much pain and difficulty breathing, comfort level needs to be considered and maintained.
  5. Records of Exercise: Record exercise dates, periods, and glucose levels. Recordkeeping of exercises would be a solid evidence for improvement of health, and also a helpful resource to evaluation of how exercises influence blood glucose levels and calculation of appropriate dosage of insulin.
  6. Before & After Exercises: Do a warm-up exercise for 3-5 minutes before starting exercises. For example, when doing a walking exercise, start at a low speed and gradually increase the speed to a desired level. And then slow down the speed before coming to a complete stop, and drink water in between for hydration.
  7. Start Today!: One cannot expect to see a dramatic result immediately; noticeable effects will become evident in 6 months ~ 1 year period. But many people will begin to feel better while exercising and soon it will become a part of a daily routine. Exercises will definitely become a huge advantage and bring a satisfying result. Please start today, you won’t regret it.
7-7-7 Steps

Patients with diabetes are recommended to follow 7 steps of diabetes and spread it to 7 other patients, making a goal that all patients’ average blood glucose level for 3-month period becomes 7.

  1. Diabetes needs to be regulated to prevent complications.
  2. Diet routine should be divided to 3 parts: 1/3 vegetables, 1/3 meat, fish, tofu, eggs, and 1/3 rice, bread, potatoes, along with 1 cup of milk and 1 fruit.
  3. Exercise daily.
  4. Write a diary to record blood glucose levels before and after meal time (normal: 120 before meal and 170 after meal)
  5. Take medications (main: glyburide, etc. sub: metformin, etc.) according to test results and under instruction of a doctor.
  6. Observe feet and apply lotion.
  7. Take candies, orange juice immediately when blood glucose level decreases rapidly (symptoms: cold sweat, chilliness, and shivering)