Do you need a comprehensive reference book about all things diabetes? Pick up a copy of Diabetes Head to Toe (affiliate link) by Rita R. Kalyani, MD, MHS, Mark D. Corriere, MD, Thomas W. Donner, MD, and Michael W. Quartuccio, MD, all of whom are physicians at Johns Hopkins.
Full disclosure: Both Dr. Kalyani and I are members of the DiabetesSisters Board of Directors. I met her for the first time in person last May and we exchanged books. I gave her a copy of The Pocket Carbohydrate Counter Guide for Diabetes and she shared Diabetes Head to Toe with me. We had fun comparing our book writing experiences.
Dr. Kalyani is at the forefront of the movement to educate health care professionals about diabetes language and stigma and her book reflects that. You won’t find any judgments, just a lot of practical information about overcoming denial, educating yourself, and making appropriate lifestyle changes.
What’s Included in Diabetes Head to Toe?
Chapter 1: A Quick Overview of Diabetes
Chapter 2: Diagnosis, Screening, and Types of Diabetes
Chapter 3: General Aspects of Diabetes
Chapter 4: Diabetes in Special Populations
Chapter 5: Lifestyle and Behavioral Changes in Diabetes
Chapter 6: Obesity and Diabetes
Chapter 7: Diabetes Complications and Other Conditions Common in Diabetes
Chapter 8: An Overview of Treatments for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Chapter 9: Medications Commonly Used to Treat Diabetes
Chapter 10: Medications for Conditions Related to Cardiovascular Disease
Chapter 11: Diabetes Technology and Equipment
Chapter 12: Cutting-Edge and Future Treatments for Diabetes
What You’ll Learn
Diabetes Head to Toe discusses the basics, of course, including differences between Type 1 and Type 2, the importance of blood glucose monitoring, carb counting, the plate method, and treatments.
The bulk of the book (Chapter 7) discusses how diabetes impacts your entire body and goes through each organ and system in great detail. It also covers depression and mental health.
Brain: stroke, dementia, and depression
stroke, dementia, and depression Eyes: retinopathy, cataracts, and macular edema
retinopathy, cataracts, and macular edema Ears: hearing loss
hearing loss Mouth: tooth and gum disease
tooth and gum disease Thyroid: thyroid disease
thyroid disease Heart: heart disease, congestive heart failure, hypertension, dyslipidemia (abnormal cholesterol and triglycerides), and metabolic syndrome
heart disease, congestive heart failure, hypertension, dyslipidemia (abnormal cholesterol and triglycerides), and metabolic syndrome Circulation: peripheral arterial disease
peripheral arterial disease Lungs: obstructive sleep apnea
obstructive sleep apnea Stomach, Gut, Liver, and Pancreas: gastroparesis, celiac disease (and Type 1), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and pancreatitis
gastroparesis, celiac disease (and Type 1), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and pancreatitis Kidneys: diabetic kidney disease, dialysis, and kidney transplantation
diabetic kidney disease, dialysis, and kidney transplantation Bladder: bladder disorders including urinary incontinence
bladder disorders including urinary incontinence Nerves: peripheral and autonomic neuropathy
peripheral and autonomic neuropathy Feet: amputation, foot ulcers, wound healing, neuroarthropathy (Charcot Joint Disease)
amputation, foot ulcers, wound healing, neuroarthropathy (Charcot Joint Disease) Muscle, Skin, and Bones: skin conditions, muscle and joint diseases, osteoporosis, and vitamin D deficiency
skin conditions, muscle and joint diseases, osteoporosis, and vitamin D deficiency Cancer and Diabetes: common cancers and pancreatic cancer
common cancers and pancreatic cancer Anemia, Infections, and Immune System: anemia and infectious diseases
anemia and infectious diseases Men’s Health: male sexual difficulties, erectile dysfunction, and low testosterone
male sexual difficulties, erectile dysfunction, and low testosterone Women’s Health: pregnancy, gestational diabetes, female sexual difficulties, menopausal effects, menstrual cycle effects, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
My Thoughts about Diabetes Head to Toe
As someone with both NAFLD and PCOS, I was thrilled to see a discussion of the tie between both conditions and diabetes. Most information you see about either assumes you have that condition and nothing else.
I got a bit overwhelmed reading Chapter 7 all in one sitting. Realizing the effects that diabetes can have on all of your body systems can be a little depressing. However, knowledge is power and now I’ll be more vigilant about prevention.
Although I try to follow my doctor’s advice, watch my diet, and exercise regularly, there was one time when, no matter what I did, my BGs were not in range. I beat myself up until I found a new endocrinologist who told me it wasn’t my fault. It really struck home when I read “Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, and even if you do everything right, you may still need higher doses or more medications over time” in Diabetes Head to Toe.
The books contains many anatomical drawings that, as a visual person, I found extremely helpful. For example, the liver is higher up than I realized and it is enormous!
The appendix contains a helpful table listing all of the diabetes medications currently available in the U.S. Chapter 9 describes each category of drug in great detail.
Each section of the book is followed by a highlighted paragraph entitled “What Does It All Mean?” This translates the medical language into plain English. Even if you don’t have time to read the whole book, you’ll learn a lot just by reading the information in the blue boxes.
I appreciate the explanations of various lab tests. For example, my doctor always keeps an eye on my ALT and AST liver enzymes, but I never really understood what they were. There is also a good explanation of the various kidney function tests like creatinine, GFR, and albumin.
“Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, and even if you do everything right, you may still need higher doses or more medications over time.” – Diabetes Head to Toe
Diabetes Head to Toe is a book to scan and keep on your bookshelf for future reference when specific things come up during your diabetes journey. All sections of the book will not apply to you personally, but the ones that do will provide valuable insight and guidance. Everyone’s diabetes is different and this book perfectly addresses that fact.