April is designated as Defeat Diabetes Month

April is designated as Defeat Diabetes Month by the Defeat Diabetes Foundation (DDF). It’s a time when DDF shines the spotlight on Type 2 diabetes and the many lifestyle changes that people can make to minimize their chances of contracting the disease. Below, we’re answering some of your important questions about both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Q: My husband was just diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. His doctor said he needs to “eat better,” but didn’t really explain what he meant by this. Any suggestions?

A: The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has something called the Diabetes Plate Method geared toward people with both Type 1 & Type 2 diabetes. Its simple, delicious recipes can help manage blood sugar. Below, we’ll share some highlights from the plan:

  • Have reasonable portions. In the US, we tend to have overly large portions – try to keep this in check.
  • Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables.
  • Fill one quarter of your plate with lean protein foods. Examples include fish, chicken, lean beef and eggs. There are also plant-based options such as beans, lentils and hummus.
  • Set aside one quarter of your plate with healthy carbohydrates. Examples include brown rice, quinoa, acorn squash and popcorn.
  • Enjoy a low-calorie beverage. Water is the best choice because it doesn’t have any calories or carbohydrates and doesn’t impact blood sugar in any way.


Q: How do you know if you’re diabetic?

A: Get a blood test, it’s the only way to measure your blood glucose (sugar) levels. And be sure to get what’s called a fasting blood sugar test where you don’t eat anything for several hours before the test. Typically, mornings are the best time for the test.


Q: My granddaughter was just diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and my wife was diagnosed with type 2 – what is the difference?

A: Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas does not make any insulin or very little (insulin is a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells). Type 1 diabetes usually first appears in children and is not preventable. There is also currently no cure for Type 1 diabetes, and a person with Type 1 diabetes will need insulin shots (or a pump) every day for the rest of their life. With Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin, and cells respond poorly to insulin, which is called insulin resistance. There is also no cure, however, for most people, Type 2 diabetes is preventable by living a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of exercise and a healthy diet. But once a person has Type 2 diabetes, they can also manage it well through a healthy lifestyle and diet.


Q: My son was just diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes – and he loves his sweets. Will he be able to enjoy them at all anymore?

A: Yes. A great place to find yummy, diabetes-friendly dessert suggestions (with recipes) for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics is by visiting the American Diabetes Association (ADA) website: http://diabetes.org . Some of their delectable sweets include Almond 4-ingredient peanut butter cookies, Almond Joy hot cocoa and “Helado” de banana y chocolate.


This information is for educational purposes. Please consult your physician for any medical issues. The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) is committed to bringing trusted and quality home health and private care to Brevard County patients. For more information about VNA services, call 321-752-7550 or visit www.vnatc.com.