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Learn about diabetes with online courses and programs

Diabetes is a metabolic dysfunction that prevents the body from regulating blood sugar levels. This can cause long-term negative effects on the body’s tissues and systems, which require lifelong maintenance and care following a patient’s diagnosis.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition that reduces an individual’s ability to process sugar, causing long-term effects on the body’s tissues and systems. In a non-diabetic individual, the pancreas creates the hormone insulin, which helps the body convert sugar into usable energy. When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, it means that the pancreas is not producing enough insulin, and may not be producing any at all.

Diabetes can be brought on in a variety of ways, resulting in different types of disease expression:

  • Type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system attacks the pancreas

  • Type 2 diabetes, which is brought on by lifestyle

  • Gestational diabetes, which affects pregnant women

Long-term effects of diabetes include nerve damage, kidney failure, amputations, and risks of other chronic conditions. Understanding how to manage the disease is critical for people with diabetes, as well as those around them and their healthcare providers.

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Diabetes course curriculum

Understanding diabetes can be difficult, even for those who are living with the disease. If you’re interested in learning skills to navigate the challenges of managing diabetes in daily life, an online course may provide helpful information, such as:

  • Types of diabetes and how each one is treated

  • How to make good food choices and improve your eating habits

  • Physical activity and its benefits in managing diabetes

  • Diabetes medications

You may also be interested in historic and current research on diabetes. Other classes may discuss the role of nutrition for individuals at risk of or living with diabetes, the biological processes involved in diabetic symptoms, and how genetics can factor into the disease.

Learning about diabetes can supplement your knowledge of healthcare and human biology. edX offers a variety of educational opportunities for learners interested in studying these topics, as well as a host of other disciplines. A boot camp can provide flexible hands-on learning for those who want to upskill quickly, while executive education courses are designed for busy professionals. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program. Find the right learning path for you.

Explore jobs impacted by diabetes

Those with diabetes rely on a variety of people to help them diagnose and manage their condition. Here are some of the roles that may be involved in providing care and support for individuals with diabetes:

  • Nutritionist: Helps individuals with diabetes plan balanced meals that manage blood sugar levels, and provides guidance on crucial skills for managing diabetes.Footnote 1

  • Physical therapist: Designs safe and effective exercise routines tailored to individuals with diabetes.Footnote 2

  • Elementary school teacher: Accommodates students with diabetes, understands diabetes management procedures, and recognizes signs of low or high blood sugar.Footnote 3

  • Human resources (HR) manager: Provides accommodations for diabetic employees, such as flexible schedules or breaks for blood sugar management.Footnote 4

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. For example, some employers may seek candidates with a degree in education or journalism, depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.