Case Study:
You are a nurse in an acute care hospital. Your new patient JD is in the hospital for fractures. His chart showed he has type 2 diabetes with HbA1c of 8.0%. JD’s sister came in to visit at lunch and brought him a Big Mac (3 slices of bread) with large fries on the side in addition to a bag of potato chips and a bottle of orange juice. You are concerned about the high carbohydrate content of the meal and discussed this with JD and JD’s sister. JD’s sister said, “I know my brother has diabetes, so I didn’t bring him soda or dessert.”  JD said “I really love my carbs, but I know I should avoid all carbs to make my sugar low. Doctor said something about my ‘A1c’. Do you know what that is about?” Both JD and his sister said they would like to learn more about diabetes and diet.

Q1. Please explain to JD why he needs carbohydrates and describe the 2 functions of carbohydrates mentioned in the lecture
Q2. Please explain to JD’s sister the different types of carbohydrates. Provide 2 examples of simple carbohydrates and 2 examples of complex carbohydrates.
Q3. Please explain to JD and his sister what the HbA1c test is and how to use A1c level to categorize normal blood sugar, pre-diabetes, and diabetes according to the ADA. Please also describe the target HbA1c level for people diagnosed with diabetes.
Q4. Please explain to JD and his sister some of the diabetes treatment options, including diet, exercise, insulin injections, and oral medications.

Sample Answer

Sample Answer


Title: Understanding Carbohydrates, HbA1c, and Diabetes Management


In the realm of diabetes management, understanding the role of carbohydrates, interpreting HbA1c levels, and exploring treatment options are crucial for individuals like JD and his sister. This essay aims to shed light on these key aspects to empower patients with knowledge and strategies to navigate their diabetic journey effectively.

Q1: The Importance of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are essential for providing energy to the body, especially for vital organs like the brain and muscles. They also play a significant role in maintaining digestive health by providing fiber, which supports healthy digestion and prevents constipation.

Q2: Types of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates can be classified into simple and complex forms. Simple carbohydrates include sugars like glucose (found in fruits) and fructose (found in honey). On the other hand, complex carbohydrates are starches found in foods like whole grains, legumes, and vegetables.

Q3: Understanding HbA1c Levels

HbA1c test measures the average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), an HbA1c level below 5.7% is considered normal, 5.7%-6.4% indicates prediabetes, and 6.5% or higher signifies diabetes. The target HbA1c level for individuals with diabetes is generally below 7%.

Q4: Diabetes Treatment Options

Diabetes management involves a multifaceted approach. Dietary modifications, such as controlling carbohydrate intake, are crucial. Regular exercise helps improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. In some cases, insulin injections or oral medications may be prescribed to manage blood sugar levels effectively.

In conclusion, education and awareness are pivotal in managing diabetes successfully. By understanding the role of carbohydrates, interpreting HbA1c levels, and exploring treatment options, individuals like JD and his sister can take proactive steps towards better health outcomes. Empowered with knowledge, they can make informed choices and embrace a healthier lifestyle to effectively manage their diabetes.




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