Healthy living with diabetes

It is extremely important to have a healthy lifestyle when living with diabetes. Eating healthy, getting exercise, lowering stress, avoiding smoking, and getting regular check ups are all critical with this disease. 

Eat a diet that includes whole grains, protein, fruits and vegetables. Count your carbs and try to eat about the same amount of food at eat meal. Eat frequently to avoid drastic changes in your blood sugar. Limit your sweets and alcohol. 

Exercise is so important! Exercise allows your body to use the sugar in your blood without additional insulin. Aim for 30 minutes per day. 

Keep your stress down. When your cortisol levels (the hormone that measures stress) go up, your blood sugar also goes up. Keeping your stress levels down will help to keep your blood sugar levels lower.

Don’t smoke and if you already do, then STOP! It is not good for you when you have diabetes and it is not good for you if you don’t. 

Go to the doctor regularly to check you and be sure everything seems to be going fine. It is good for preventative health and it is also a good way to stop the progression of not-so-good-things that can be a part of the diabetic disease.

Asians and Diabetes

Did you know that Asians are at higher risk for developing diabetes? This was news to me. Sixty percent of the world’s diabetic population is Asian. Due to their small frame and low muscle mass, they are at higher risk for diabetes. Also, they tend to have a higher percentage of abdominal fat which makes them at higher risk. This was so interesting for me to learn and I will be sure to take extra care to educate those from Asian ancestry that they need to be sure to keep their BMI below 23 to minimize their risk of developing diabetes.


Here is a link with more information.

Pregnancy and Diabetes

This week we discussed pregnancy and diabetes.  It takes a little more vigilance to have a healthy pregnancy with diabetes, but it is possible and it is worth the effort. 

It is very important to closely examine what types of medications the patient is taking to be sure they are safe during pregnancy. One insulin, Irbesarten, is  not safe for pregnant women to take because it can cause injury and death to the fetus. However, lispro (Humalog), Levemir and aspart (NovoLog) are “reasonably” safe during pregnancy. 

Due to potential complications,  type 1 diabetes qualifies the pregnant woman as high risk. Having the patient use a continuous glucose monitoring system may be a good way to keep track of her blood glucose levels. If her blood glucose levels are too high, she can get hypertension, preeclampsia or her fetus could die. She could also have an overweight baby which could lead to a c-section. Her insulin needs may increase two to three times during the second and third trimesters so careful glucose monitoring can help detect any insulin changes that need to be made. 

This patient may need to eat frequent, small meals to keep her blood sugar stable and help with nausea. If she vomits what she eats then she is at risk for hypoglycemia. She should carry a fast acting source of carbohydrates with her. 

The pregnant diabetic patient needs to exercise frequently. Exercise will help keep her blood glucose levels down. It will also help her to avoid excessive weight gain. Walking briskly daily for 30 minutes is a good goal. This will also help to keep her blood pressure down and prevent pre-eclampsia. 

The patient will need to have regular check ups with her nephrologist and be monitored closely by her ObGYN. Her doctors can help monitor her blood pressure and any other issues that may arise and help make adjustments as needed. 

I will use the information I learned whenever I care for a pregnant diabetic patient. Because I am interested in working in labor and delivery, this may be frequently! I feel very passionate about helping women be healthy and feel good. Life is too short to feel poorly due to disease.

The Non-English Speaking Patient

This week we discussed ways to care for non-english speaking patients with diabetes.

First, it is very important to establish trust with the patient. The person may feel vulnerable to be dealing with a medical issue in a country that doesn’t speak their primary language. If the patient trusts the nurses then he or she will be in a position to listen to what is being taught.

Second, a certified translator needs to be used for communication with the non-english speaking patient. The translator could be someone on staff with the hospital or could be remote. In addition, there are medical language translating websites that can be used such as English can be typed and then translated to a variety of languages automatically. The patient would need to be a proficient reader of his/her primary language for this website to be effective. 

Third, it is important to figure out what the patient already knows. This could be done in a variety of ways. The patient could demonstrate what he/she knows about caring for diabetes. If the patient is younger, a doll could be given to the patient for the patient to “teach” about diabetes.  Once it is established what the patient does and does not know, he/she can be taught in the areas where education is lacking.

Fourth, the patient needs to be thoroughly taught about how to properly care for diabetes. Diet, exercise, and signs of hypo and hyperglycemia need to be addressed.  Visual aids or pamphlets may be used to facilitate learning and understanding. 

Fifth, verify that the patient understands what was taught about caring for diabetes. This could be done with another demonstration. 

Diabetes can lead to life-threatening complications so education about the disease needs to be effective and thorough. Non-english speaking patients can make this a complicated situation. However, there are many resources and manners to help with educating this type of patient so they are able to learn to properly care for their medical condition. 

Here are some links for other articles that have ideas too!


Week 4

I am learning so much in this class! It is so important for those with diabetes to eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. A dietician can help create meal plans for those with diabetes. These meal plans can be followed to keep blood sugars stable and eat a balanced diet.

I love the simple explanation about diabetes the website has . The website also has simple signs and symptoms of diabetes. Below is a quote from the website.

Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose (say: GLOO-kose), a sugar that is the body’s main source of fuel. Just as an iPod needs a battery, your body needs glucose to keep running. Here’s how it should work:

  1. 1. You eat.
  2. 2. Glucose from the food gets into your bloodstream.
  3. 3. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin (say: IN-suh-lin).
  4. 4. Insulin helps the glucose get into the body’s cells.
  5. 5. Your body gets the energy it needs.

The pancreas is a long, flat gland in your belly that helps your body digest food. It also makes insulin. Insulin is kind of like a key that opens the doors to the cells of the body. It lets the glucose in. Then the glucose can move out of the blood and into the cells.

But if someone has diabetes, the body either can’t make insulin or the insulin doesn’t work in the body like it should. The glucose can’t get into the cells normally, so the blood sugar level gets too high. Lots of sugar in the blood makes people sick if they don’t get treatment. (Dowshen, 2015)

Reflective Journal- Week 3


This week I learned that Diabetes is more prevalent among Hispanics. I also learned that it is important to check patient’s lipid profiles because high lipid profile levels put a person at higher risk for diabetes. 

I will use this information often in my nursing practice. This will help me educate patient’s who are at risk for developing diabetes about the signs and symptoms of the disease as well as how to decrease their chances of developing it. 

I am surprised at the rate of diabetes in the world. I am also surprised that it is increasing. Also, I didn’t realize how deadly diabetes can be. It is a disease for healthcare providers to take really seriously and take special care for these patients to avoid harm to them. 

About Me

Hi! My name is Karina and I am a student nurse at Utah Valley University. This blog will be a place for me to record my thoughts about diabetes teaching. I am excited to learn more about diabetes teaching so I can teach my future diabetic patients how to properly care for themselves. Below is a link to the American Diabetes Association that you can reference for more information about diabetes.