Monday, November 08, 2010

Diabetes Numeracy

Numeracy is to math as literacy is to reading; numeracy refers to a people's ability to use and understand math.
Numeracy is strongly associated with better diabetes outcomes; unfortunately a large portion of people struggle with the math associated with following doctor's orders regarding diabetes, and an even larger portion of people struggle with figuring out on their own how to use math to fit together the pieces that make up diabetes management.


A knowledge of diabetes is not required to take the following test (I got them all right):
http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/diabetes/drtc/preventionandcontrol/files/diabetes-numeracy-test.pdf

Basic diabetes numeracy that people measure and that is on the test above is knowledge of how to follow instruction so that you can:
-Understand how many units of insulin you are supposed to take.
-Measure out that number of units on multiple types of syringe.
-Read and understand nutrition labels on packages.
-Compute nutrition information with actual servings you took to figure out number of carbohydrates in what you're eating.
-Use a correction factor.
-Understand how soon you will need a refill or how long your supplies will last.
-Understand what is relevant and what is not when looking at a problem.
-Add times to know when 15 or 20 minutes have passed.

Slightly fuller numeracy might include:
-Being able to use nutritional guides instead of merely nutrition labels to accurately figure out the nutritional content in everything.
-Understand duration of insulin to know when to correct.
-Be able to spot patterns and put them in mathematical terms to change and articulate changes in insulin needs such as carb ratios and insulin sensivity factors as well as blood carb ratios.

1 comment:

Reyna said...

Can we call this language "Diabetese" or "Diabese"...Wendy from Candy Hearts has a name for it. I cannot quite remember what it is. It is a whole different way of life and thinking isn't it?