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Diabetes Education

Diabetes Education

5445 Avenue O
Fort Madison, IA FMCH doctor and patient reviewing paperwork


8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. by appointment

Education Team:

  • Registered Dietician
  • Registered Nurse
  • Physical Therapist 
  • Pharmacist


  • One on one counseling for newly diagnosed patients with our certified Diabetes Educators that includes creating a lifestyle plan; setting goals and understanding how to manage your diabetes.
  • Diabetes Education Class/Self-Management Program which is a comprehensive diabetes education program that covers all areas of concern for patients with diabetes. This class is recognized by the American Diabetes Association and Certified by Iowa Medicaid and the Iowa Department of Public Health. Self-management education is an essential component of diabetes treatment. The participant in an ADA Recognized program will be taught as needed, self-care skills that will promote better management of his or her diabetes treatment regimen. All approved education programs cover the following topic as needed:
  • Diabetes disease process
  • Nutritional management
  • Physical activity
  • Medications
  • Monitoring, preventing, detecting and treating chronic complications through risk reduction
  • Goal Setting
  • Problem Solving
  • Psychological adjustment
  • Pre-conception care and management during pregnancy and gestational management

Assuring high-quality education for patient self-care is one of the primary goals of the program. Through the support of the health care team and increased knowledge and awareness of diabetes, the patient can assume a major part of the responsibility for his/her diabetes management. Unnecessary hospital admissions and some of the acute and chronic complications of diabetes may be prevented through self-management education.

Referral Forms

Diabetes Support Group

Fort Madison Community Hospital holds Diabetes Support Group, the second Tuesday of the month, March-November. Check the Upcoming Events Calendar for exact dates and topics. 

Frequently asked Questions about Diabetes

What exactly is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in which sugar levels in your blood are high. When you eat, some of your food is broken down into sugar (also called glucose). Sugar travels in your blood to all your body’s cells. Insulin helps sugar move from your blood into your cells. Insulin is a hormone that is made by the beta cells in the pancreas.
Your cells need sugar for energy. Sugar from food makes your blood sugar levels go up. Insulin lowers your blood sugar level by helping sugar move from your blood into your cells.

When you have diabetes:

  • Your pancreas makes little or no insulin
  • Or, your body prevents the insulin you do make from working right

What types of diabetes exist?

There are three common types of diabetes: Type 1; Type 2 and Gestational. Type 2 Diabetes is the most common.

In Type I Diabetes, the body makes little or no insulin. So, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs more often in children and young adults, but it can also appear in older adults.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body prevents insulin from working right. Your body may make some insulin, but not enough. Most people with diabetes – about 90-95% have type 2 diabetes. This kind of diabetes usually happens in people who are older or in those who are overweight. In fact, 8 out of 10 people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy. About 3 to 8 of every 100 pregnant women develop it. Blood sugar levels usually return to normal after the baby is born. But gestational diabetes can increase the risk of getting type 2 diabetes in later life.

Who is most susceptible to getting type 2 diabetes?

  • People with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and/or impaired fasting glucose (IFG)
  • People over age 45
  • People with a family history of diabetes
  • People who are overweight
  • People who do not exercise regularly
  • People with low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, high blood pressure
  • Certain racial and ethnic groups (e.g., Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives)
  • Women who had gestational diabetes, or who have had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth
  • You regularly get less than 5.5 hours of sleep a night

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue and Irritability

Type 2 Diabetes

  • Any of the type 1 symptoms
  • Frequent infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
  • Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections

If you have one or more of these diabetes symptoms, see your doctor right away.

What is Pre-diabetes?

If you are a person with pre-diabetes, it means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as having type 2 diabetes. It is often described as the “gray area”. However, without intervention, it can progress to type 2 diabetes in approximately 10 years or even sooner. Pre-diabetes can cause the same damages to the organs, such as your heart, kidneys, nerves, and eyes, like type 2 diabetes. But don’t be alarmed, there is good news; the progression of pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes is not inevitable. Pre-diabetes offers you an opportunity to improve your overall health and prevent its progression to type 2 diabetes.
Often pre-diabetes has no signs or symptoms, but a darkened area of skin called acanthosis nigricans may be present and it is one of the few signs of pre-diabetes. The common areas that may be affected include the neck, armpits, elbows, knees, and knuckles.

How are people tested for the disease?

  • Fasting glucose test (FGT)-measures blood sugar when you haven’t eaten anything for at least 8 hours.
  • Glucose tolerance test (GTT)-measures blood sugar after you haven’t eaten anything for at least 8 hours and 2 hours after you drink a sugary drink provided by a doctor or laboratory professional
  • The A1C test result reflects your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Specifically, the A1C test measures what percentage of your hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — is coated with sugar (glycated). The higher your A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control. And if you have previously diagnosed diabetes, the higher the A1C level, the higher your risk of diabetes complications.

What healthy lifestyle tips do you have to help prevent a diagnosis of this growing disease?

  1. Exercise is extremely important for preventing diabetes. You need at least ½ hour of exercise per day. That means vigorous walking to get your heart rate up or any other type of exercise that helps you to work up a sweat. One hour a day is even better. New clinical trials showed that when participants walked vigorously for 30 minutes a day 5 days per week and also lost weight in the amount of 5-7% of their total body weight, they cut their risk of developing diabetes by 50%. Studies have revealed that exercise also lowers blood sugar and keeps it down for several hours after the exercise which also contributes to preventing diabetes.
  2. Lose weight: Weight loss is also extremely important in preventing diabetes. About 80% of diabetics are overweight and excess weight has been shown to contribute to the development of diabetes. In fact, just losing weight and exercising can often completely control all symptoms of diabetes.
  3. Another important action in preventing diabetes is to avoid eating foods made with sugar, bleached (white) flour and other refined carbohydrates such as white rice and dry cereals in order to help in preventing diabetes. Processed and fried foods are particularly unhealthy, and the fats and carbohydrates found in them undermine your health. Stay away from high glycemic index foods.
  4. Eat lots of fiber, which is found in raw fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, and oatmeal or oat bran. Fiber will go a long way in preventing diabetes because it helps to buffer high amounts of sugar or carbohydrates in your diet, keeping your blood sugar even rather than having it move wildly up and down.
  5.  Don’t smoke. Smoking is not only associated with the development of diabetes, but it also contributes to heart disease and causes lung cancer.
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