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Extension Offers Diabetes Education Programs

Extension Offers Diabetes Education Programs

AUBURN, Ala. –More than 634,000 people in Alabama, live with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, another estimated 127,000 Alabamians have this disease but don’t know it. Alabama Extension offers various diabetes education programs to citizens across the state.

Donna Shanklin, an Alabama Extension coordinator for Lawrence County, working in human nutrition, diet and health, said these programs go over various things that people with diabetes need to know.

“Agents teach people living with diabetes how to prepare and eat foods that help reduce their blood glucose levels, and how to talk honestly with their doctors about their health concerns and questions.”

Diabetes is when the body cannot produce a sufficient amount of insulin. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. More than 30 million people in the United States are affected by this disease.


Prediabetes affects many people across the country. People with prediabetes have blood glucose levels higher than normal. These levels, however, are not high enough for that person to be diabetic. Without intervention, many people will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. This puts them at risk for serious health problems, including heart attack, blindness and kidney failure.

Types of Diabetes

Checking Blood Sugar

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant).

  • Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed in children, teens and young adults.
  • Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens and young adults are developing it. With Type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin. Called insulin resistance, your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond.
  • Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy in women who don’t already have diabetes. It affects 2 percent to 10 percent of pregnancies in the United States annually.

Educational Programs on Diabetes

Alabama Extension regional agents in Human Nutrition, Diet and Health provide many educational programs that provide information on diabetes. They provide direct education to individuals or their family members living with the disease. They also help people to understand different issues associated with the disease.

Many hospitals in Alabama offer diabetes education programs also, sometimes in partnership with Extension faculty. Some insurers cover a visit with a registered dietician (RD) who can assist with food concerns, some do not. Ask your health care provider.

More Information

To learn more about diabetes and prevention programs offered, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website here. Also, visit Alabama Extension at www.aces.edu or contact your county Extension office for more information about the Extension diabetes educational programs.

About Donna Reynolds