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Contact Information

Center for Disabilities Studies
University of Delaware
461 Wyoming Road
Newark DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-6974
TDD: 302-831-4689


Testing for blood sugar

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes Risk Test
Managing Your Diabetes
Living with Diabetes
Diabetes and Disability
Additional Resources

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes means blood glucose (the sugar in your blood) levels are high. By eating food we are giving our body sugar that can be used for energy. Insulin, a hormone made by your body helps sugar leave the blood and go into the cells of the body. Cells need sugar to give the body energy. If your body is not making insulin, the sugar in your blood cannot go into your cells. Sugar in your blood that remains high will cause diabetes if not treated.

There are two types of diabetes: type I and type II. Type I is when the body is not making any insulin. 5-10% of diabetes population has type I and it is more common in children and young adults. With respect to type I, the body is not making enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels at a normal level. Type II is when the pancreas (the organ that makes insulin) is making some insulin but the body is having trouble using it. 90-95% of population has type II. With type II, the body is not using the insulin as it should be, leading to an increase in blood sugar. Type II diabetes overview.

High blood sugar is what to look out for with diabetes. Some signs and symptoms (things to watch out for) of high blood sugar include, a need to urinate often, thirsty all the time, weight loss, extreme hunger, vision changes, tingling/numbness or lack of feeling in extremities and having more infections than normal.

Both types have different risk factors and treatment options. Risk factors of type I include autoimmune, when the body attacks its own immune system, genetic and environmental factors. Type II risk factors include older age, obesity, family history, history of gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy), lack of physical activity and race/ethnicity.

A simple and easy way to learn about diabetes made available by, easy to read handouts with pictures—PDF versions available here:

What is Diabetes?
Understanding Blood Sugar
Exercise and Diabetes
Diabetes and Healthy Eating
Diabetes and Your Feet

Diabetes Risk Test

Are you at risk for developing diabetes? One in five people are at risk for getting diabetes. You may be at risk if you are overweight, have a family member with diabetes and are physically inactive. Find out your risk level today.

No matter what risk level, it is important to keep a healthy lifestyle to prevent getting type II diabetes. Those persons at higher risk levels should make changes to their daily eating and exercising habits and ask for help and guidance. Lifestyle changes are not always the easiest to make but taking it one step at a time is the best way to prevent diabetes.


There are several things that can be done to help prevent diabetes. Understanding risk factors and how diabetes affects the body is a good first step. It is also important to get tested.

Getting tested: adults over age 45, especially those overweight should be tested for prediabetes and diabetes. Adults younger than 45, but who have one or more risk factors should also be tested.Prediabetes means higher blood sugar levels than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes.

With prevention programs and changes to lifestyle, those persons with prediabetes can hugely lower their chance of getting type II diabetes.

FAQs from American Diabetes Association

YMCA of Delaware Diabetes Prevention Program

Amputee Coalition of America

Managing Your Diabetes

Managing your diabetes and keeping your blood sugar under control means making a lifestyle change. It is important to follow a healthy meal plan, be physically active every day, check feet daily for cuts and sores, brush teeth, follow medication schedule, avoid smoking, and keep a diary of blood sugar levels. Health care providers and specialists can help monitor diabetes and teach individuals proper care.

For people with type I diabetes, because the body is not producing its own insulin, insulin injections will be necessary. Before injecting yourself with insulin, checking your blood sugar is a must. Type II diabetics will most likely be on oral medication to lower blood sugar.

It is important to follow treatment regimen and prevent further complications from the disease, such as eye problems, heart disease and foot problems. Uncontrolled diabetes has many effects on the body that vary by gender and can help be prevented by following a strict treatment plan.

Gender Differences:

Effects of diabetes on male body

Effects of diabetes on female body

Living with Diabetes

Seven Self Care Behaviors from American Association of Diabetes Educators

Seven Self Care Behaviors Changes To Be Made
Healthy Eating Learning portion control, what to eat, and when to eat
Being Active Especially for individuals at risk for type II diabetes, exercise helps to control that risk and for people with diabetes, exercise helps to control blood sugar levels. Exercise and activity level should be balanced with food and medication
Monitoring Daily monitoring of blood sugar levels, regular blood pressures, checking urine for proteins and weight
Taking Medication Know what medications you are on and the dosages (the amount), timing (when to take them) and possible side effects
Problem Solving Know what to do in case of high blood sugar or low blood sugar and how to care for yourself or others when sick
Reducing Risks Stop smoking; make regular doctor appointments (routine, eye, foot) and dental appointments
Healthy Coping Diabetes educators help patients set goals for changing their behavior and support patient

If you are currently living with diabetes there are some things to think about. Get to know your health care providers and team, explore different treatment options, look for support group in your community and know what to do when sick.

Sick days can happen so find out how to care for yourself or others with diabetes when sickness occurs.

Diabetes and Disability

Disability and Health in Delaware: Delaware Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2006-2008 Selected Data

Between 1995 and 2007, the prevalence of diabetes in Delaware has more than doubled, climbing from 4.3% to nearly 9% (DHSS, 2009). Sixteen percent (16.4%) of adults who reported having a disability indicated that they were told by a doctor that they had diabetes compared to 6.1% of adults who did not report having a disability. Of individuals who reported having a disability, 6.8% reported being diagnosed with diabetes before age 45. Two percent (2.4%) of individuals without a disability reported being diagnosed with diabetes before age 45.

In 2008, 73.5% of adults who reported having a disability indicated that they had a test for high blood sugar within the past three years compared to 54.7% of adults who did not report having a disability.


Additional Resources/References