Learn about diabetes and how to access local and other resources to help you successfully prevent or manage this disease.

About Diabetes

Your body changes much of the food you eat to a kind of sugar called glucose. Glucose is the major source of energy for your body. Your body makes insulin to help change glucose into energy. Diabetes is a serious health condition that results when your body fails to make insulin or use insulin properly.

When you have diabetes, your body can't change glucose into energy. Some parts of your body can't get enough glucose for energy. Other parts can be harmed when exposed to too much glucose. Diabetes affects all parts of the body.

Diabetes is a serious disease that affects 30,000 Vermonters. The good news is that by working with your health care provider, and adjusting your lifestyle, you should be able to manage your blood sugar, stay healthy and lead a full and active life. Though it can be hard to stay with your program day after day and year after year, the rewards are great.

Symptoms, Risk Factors and Diagnosis of Diabetes

To know if you have diabetes, you need to have a blood test. If the level of glucose in your blood is higher than normal, you may have diabetes or a condition called pre-diabetes.


If you’ve experienced the following symptoms you could have diabetes:

  • frequent urination
  • unusual thirst
  • unusual fatigue
  • blurred vision
  • recurring skin, gum, yeast, or bladder infections.

Risk Factors

The following factors could put you at risk for developing diabetes:

  • Age: Risk increases with age
  • Overweight: Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 25
  • High blood pressure
  • Low HDL (“good” cholesterol)
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Ethnicity: African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latin, Pacific Islander heritage
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Having a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Polycystic ovary disease

Types of Diabetes

There are three major types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes (occurs during pregnancy). Most people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

  • People with type 1 diabetes can't make any insulin themselves and must take insulin shots. Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is usually seen in children, but sometimes appears in adults.
  • People with type 2 diabetes either don't make enough of their own insulin or can't use all the insulin that they do make. Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their blood sugar just by eating well and getting enough exercise. Others may need pills or insulin or both. Type 2 diabetes used to be called non-insulin-dependent diabetes or adult onset diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy. This condition resolves when the baby is born. However, women who experience gestational diabetes have approximately a 90% chance of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

What to do if you have been diagnosed with diabetes:

You'll help yourself live a full, normal life and reduce risks of complications when you:

  • are careful about the food you eat,
  • get daily exercise,
  • check your blood sugar (glucose) regularly,
  • take the medicine that your doctor or other health care provider prescribes, and
  • see your primary care provider regularly for other tests and to check for possible problems
  • get a referral a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) for help with make lifestyle changes that will help you manage this disease and prevent future health problems.

What are the outcomes of uncontrolled diabetes?

If diabetes is uncontrolled, people have a higher risk of getting heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, erectile dysfunction, and loss of feeling in their feet and legs.

Nutrition and Diabetes Counseling at CVMC

At Central Vermont Medical Center we offer Nutrition and Diabetes education and counseling at various CVMC Medical Group Practice locations. Learn more about our services.

Other Resources

Vermont Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: www.eatrightvt.org

National Resources

American Diabetes Association: 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383); www.diabetes.org
American Association of Diabetes Educators: 1-800-TEAM-UP4 (1-800-832-6874); www.aadenet.org
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: 1-800-366-1655; www.eatright.org
American Heart Association: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800-141-8711); http://www.americanheart.org (Click on 'Nutrition')
Centers for Disease Control, Diabetes Program: www.cdc.gov/diabetes
Medicare Coverage for Equipment or Diabetic Supplies: www.umd.nycpic.com
Medicare Information: 1-800-772-0151; www.medicarequality.org
National Diabetes Education Program: http://ndep.nih.gov
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: www.nhlbi.nih.gov
National Institutes of Health, Diabetes Program: 1-800-860-8747; www.niddk.nih.gov/health/diabetes/diabetes.htm