Review By: Doris J. Dickson
Type 1 Mentor
This guide includes seven chapters covering the basics and then some of diabetes care. Each chapter contains a preface by one of the contributing diabetes specialists listed below.
Mayo Clinic diabetes specialists contributing to the guide include: Maria Collazo Clavell, M.D., Nancy Klobassa, Diabetes Educator, Jennifer, Nelson, R.D., Donald Hensrud, M.D., Paula Ricke, Exercise Specialist, Regina Castro, M.D. and
Steven Smith, M.D.
The first chapter is a fairly comprehensive explanation of diabetes: what it is, how the body processes glucose and when a patient develops the disease. There is also an explanation of the various types of the disease, including the signs, symptoms and risk factors. This chapter also covers tests used to diagnose diabetes and an explanation of the dangers of not properly treating the disease. Finally it describes the types of diabetes-related emergencies patients may encounter.
Diabetes Educator Nancy Klobassa explores the ins and outs of glucose testing in Chapter 2: Monitoring Your Blood Sugar. The chapter includes step-by-step instructions and illustrations, explanations of the types of monitors available and recommendations for recording and analyzing the results of glucose monitoring.
In Chapter 3: Developing a Healthy Eating Plan, Registered Dietician Jennifer Nelson describes healthy eating as defined by the Mayo Clinic, meal planning recommendations and how to calculate a serving size. The chapter also discusses how to carb count, the glycemic index, glycemic load and how to use the American Diabetes Association (ADA) legacy food exchange plan. There are several recipes which include the ingredients, preparation instructions, serving size and exchange list information.
Chapter 4 focuses on the need to achieve a healthy weight, specifically for type 2 diabetics. Dr. Donald Hensrud describes how to determine if weight loss is needed as well as the Body Mass Index (BMI) and weight/height indices. He also discusses the emotional aspects of weight gain and loss with a section on assessing your readiness to lose weight, an action guide, ways to set realistic and achievable goals and eating triggers. Dr. Hensrud also discusses the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid, food groups and tailoring the pyramid to individual needs.
Exercise Specialist Paula Riche tackles the subject of motivating patients to get more active in Chapter 5. She begins by describing physical activity versus exercise and challenges readers with a fitness quiz. There is information on developing a personal fitness plan and examples of getting physically active without formal exercise. She also outlines different forms of aerobic exercise and how to utilize walking to achieve better health. She even provides information on how to choose the right walking shoes. The chapter also includes a chart listing calories burned, stretching and strengthening exercise to do at home and weight training dos and don’ts.
Dr. Regina Castro explores the medical treatment aspect of diabetes in her chapter. It covers the good and not so good elements of insulin therapy and how to avoid the not so good elements. The section also includes insulin, regimen, and pump options. Dr. Castro explains how tight glucose control prevents complications and tries to detangle the various oral medication options. Finally, she describes the methods of kidney dialysis and types of kidney and pancreas transplants for those who might need them.
The final chapter written by Dr. Steven Smith is about staying healthy. It covers the variety of checkups and tests patients should have including frequency and which healthcare provider does what. Dr. Smith also discusses eye, foot and oral health care. Lastly he discusses the often-overlooked concept of how stress affects good health and tips for controlling it.
The Mayo Clinic’s Essential Diabetes Guide is an easy to understand, well-illustrated, comprehensive primer for the newly diagnosed, as well as many other diabetics. The guide, primarily written to a type 2 audience, also contains information pertinent to type 1 patients. For diabetics, family members and friends looking to better understand diabetes management, it is well worth reading.