Mercy Medical Center Sioux City

Diabetes Management

What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy. There are two main types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Another type is gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is most common in children and young adults and occurs when the pancreas has stopped making insulin. The exact cause has not been determined.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas is making less insulin, the insulin being produced is not working as efficiently as it should, or the liver may be releasing stored sugar when the body doesn't need it. Although Type 2 diabetes has traditionally been diagnosed in adults over 30, it is also being diagnosed in children and adolescents. Lifestyle risks include obesity and inactivity.

Gestational Diabetes is abnormal blood sugar that occurs only during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is more likely to occur in women who are over-weight, have a family history of diabetes, have had a baby who weighed more than nine pounds, or who have had gestational diabetes in the past.

The classic symptoms of diabetes include:

  • A general feeling of fatigue or tiredness
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Blurriness of vision
  • Slow healing cuts
  • Tingling or numbness of the extremities
  • Sometimes a weight change

Diabetes Education

Outpatient diabetes education is provided through individual or group classes and presented by several of our nurse and dietician diabetes educators, who specialize in diabetes management. 

Nurse diabetes educators provide an overview of diabetes management and teach blood sugar monitoring. They also address issues relating to high and low blood sugars, care during illness, preventing long-term complications, foot care, psychological aspects, as well as help motivate clients to plan behavior changes to maintain the best control of their disease. They also share resources available on local, state and national levels.

Nutrition diabetes educators focus on how foods affect blood sugars, determining food portions, reading labels, eating out choices, healthy cooking techniques, and adjusting meal plans to activities and illness. It is known that no single diet works to treat all people with diabetes. Instead, diets should be individualized to meet the unique needs of each person according to their likes, dislikes and activities. Frequent monitoring of blood glucose levels enables individuals with diabetes to adjust their own insulin doses to compensate for the changes in usual eating times, meal pattern, and exercise habits. The American Diabetes and Dietetic Associations recommend a heart healthy meal plan, which is good for the entire family.

Diabetes Education Classes are set up based on referrals from healthcare providers. Schedules are set to meet the participants' needs.  Please call our Diabetes Educator at 641-394-1668 for more information.