In this week’s edition of the Heartbeat Blog, we will continue to explore diabetes, its causes and risk factors.  Of course, if you’d like to learn more and earn some continuing education units in the process, be sure to give us a call at 510-452-1100.  Courses are currently being offered in both our Oakland and Sacramento locations.  All CNA courses are approved by the California Department of Public Health (NAC approved CE # 1187).

One of the most important aspects to helping our patients, wherever we encounter them, is education.  In the modern age there is so much information floating around—much of it incorrect.  All well thought out prevention strategies start here.  What follows is a snippet of a conversation on diabetes and also information you’d learn in our diabetes classes.

Typically ,we start the conversation with our patients by assessing what they currently know about diabetes, its risk factors, causes and effects, and then use this to plan a curriculum of sorts.  Once we implement the curriculum/ lesson plan, we test their knowledge and check back in at regular intervals.  I find that many patients can typically verbalize that diabetes has something to do with sugar and, maybe, being sedentary, but this is often where their knowledge stops.

Risk factors for diabetes, both modifiable and non-modifiable are a great place to start the conversation with your patient.


“Mrs Jones, did you know that there are risk factors for diabetes?  Some that you can affect with lifestyle changes to lower your risk of developing it?

Mrs Jones: “Like eating less sugar?”

“Sure, but there are others as well.  Let’s start with the risk factors you can’t change and finish with the ones that you can.  For example, being over 45 with a family history and being a minority are all risk factors for developing diabetes that you can’t change.”

Mrs Jones: “I have all of those! Does that mean its guaranteed?”

“Far from it! In fact, there are 10’s of millions of very healthy Americans living without diabetes right now who have these same risk factors.  Let’s talk about the risk factors that you can change.  For example, being overweight, sedentary and eating unhealthy foods with added sugar make a huge impact on developing diabetes.”

Mrs Jones: “Interesting, I didn’t know that being heavy increased my risk for diabetes as well.  I bet if I change my diet and move a bit more I could work on three of those risk factors at the same time.  Could you help me with resources and a plan?”

“I sure can, let’s start with you doing some reading at the website for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.  I can prepare a sample meal plan based on “whole foods,” and then we can meet again at your next visit.”

Mrs Jones: “Thanks, I really appreciate the information. See you soon!”

Want to learn more about diabetes and how we can help our patients?  Enroll in one of Project Heartbeat’s continuing education classes today.