What You Need to Know About World Diabetes Day

An Interview with Diana Soto, RN

Nicolasa is a 49 year old Hispanic female diagnosed with Type II DM 15 years ago. She is insulin dependent. She was reluctant to enroll in Esperança’s Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) and stated that she was unsure if she would even attend the first class. However, on that first Monday morning, Nicolasa was the first one to arrive and then attended all 6 sessions. Her pre-A1C level was 12.1 (the highest in the group) and her weight nearly 200 lbs. An A1C level below 5.7 percent is considered normal for non-diabetics. At the end of the 6 weeks, her A1C decreased to 9.6. Her weight dropped to 193 lbs. Less than a year later, her weight is now 177 lbs and her A1C is 9.1, all because she was given needed tools to improve her lifestyle!

According to the International Diabetes Federation, one out of every two individuals with diabetes is currently undiagnosed.  425 million people live with this disease worldwide, yet less than 1/4th of family members have access to diabetes education programs.  But what exactly is diabetes? And what can we do to prevent it? I spoke with Diana Soto, Esperança’s Community Health Nurse, to find out more about this condition that affects so many.

Q: What is the difference between Type I and Type II diabetes?

A: Type I diabetes the result of destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas. This leads to insulin deficiency because the pancreas no longer produces insulin.  (in type 1 diabetes the body no longer make insulin)

Type II diabetes is from a loss of insulin production and an increase in insulin resistance where the body is not able to use the insulin that is produced ( in type 2 diabetes the body still makes insulin but it doesn’t work like it should)


Q: Who is at risk?

A: Risk factors for Type II diabetes includes:

  • Being overweight
  • Are 45 years or older
  • Family History, have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Are physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native (some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk)


Q: What can we do to prevent Type II diabetes?

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat healthy – more veggies, some fruit, less starchy food, less simple carbs

Q: What lifestyle changes can be made to manage diabetes?

  • Reduce or eliminate foods that raise blood glucose levels like starchy foods and simple carbs.
  • Exercise on a regular basis- a minimum of 30 min/day 5x /week
  • Manage stress
  • Comply with medication therapy


Q: How is Esperança helping in the fight against diabetes?

A: Esperança is launching a Diabetes Self-Management six session workshop pilot program in January of 2019. Diabetes con Esperança, is designed for those that have diabetes and/or pre-diabetes, or live with someone that has diabetes. The program has been developed for those that would like to gain a better understand of their diagnosis of diabetes, how to manage it, and how to avoid disease-related complications. It is also a program that, if followed, helps those with pre-diabetes prevent the development of diabetes.

Q: Why do you think World Diabetes Day is Important?

A: Well, unfortunately there are 29.1 million people that have diabetes- about 1 in every 11 people.  71% of adults with diabetes have high blood pressure, 26% of adult 65 years or older have diabetes.  Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower limb amputations and new cases of blindness.  According to the CDC cost of Diabetes is $245 million per year.

Read More about World Diabetes Day.

By Elena Burr

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