Louisiana has the 5th highest diabetes rate in the nation. Diabetes is a complicated disease that requires daily attention - from making smart, healthy food choices and staying active, to checking blood sugar levels and regularly visiting a diabetes care team. Well-Ahead Louisiana aims to make healthy living easy and accessible to people with diabetes. Our team works to increase awareness of and access to Diabetes Prevention Programs and Diabetes Self-Management and Education Programs across the state. To find diabetes resources in your area, visit our Community Resource Guide

Diabetes in Louisiana


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     Learn more about the types of diabetes


The Diabetes 411

Diabetes is a condition in which one’s body is unable to convert food cells into energy. This causes high blood glucose levels - often called high blood sugar. The pancreas, the organ behind the stomach, produces insulin.  Insulin is the hormone that takes nutrients and sugars from food cells and converts them to energy.  Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce or efficiently use insulin.  

Prediabetes: What Is It?

Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Having prediabetes increases an individual's risk for developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

To find out if you are at risk for prediabetes, take the risk tests below! 


If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, or prediabetic, talk to your primary care provider about preventive care. A great way to prevent type 2 diabetes is to adopt healthy eating habits and increase physical activity. For tips, please visit our Healthy Eating and On The Go webpages.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes 

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. It causes your pancreas to not produce enough insulin to use the sugar you eat. Insulin is a hormone that moves sugar (glucose) into cells to provide energy.  

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. This condition is managed by daily insulin delivery by injection. Type 1 diabetes makes up 5-10% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in young children, but can also be diagnosed in adults. 

Symptoms include: increased thirst and urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision and extreme fatigue. These symptoms usually develop over a short period of time.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can affect people at any age, and more often in people who are overweight and inactive. In type 2 diabetes, the body becomes insulin resistant, which is a condition that occurs when fat, muscle, and liver cells cannot use insulin to move glucose into the body's cells for energy. The pancreas is responsible for making insulin, but over time insulin production decreases and blood sugar levels increase.

Type 2 diabetes is preventable, but not curable. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include: obesity, family history, race, age, and physical inactivity. Symptoms include: fatigue, frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and slow healing of wounds or sores. These symptoms develop gradually. Some people with type 2 diabetes may have no symptoms.

For Providers

Diabetes Prevention and management

Well-Ahead Louisiana works to increase awareness of and access to Diabetes Prevention Programs and Diabetes Self-Management and Education Programs across the state. Our teams also works to increase healthcare provider referrals to these programs. In addition, Well-Ahead coordinates the Louisiana Diabetes Educators Network and the Louisiana Diabetes Collaborative.

Diabetes Prevention Programs

Diabetes Prevention Programs (DPP) are evidence-based and effective. DPP last for a year and consist of a core phase (16 weekly classes) followed by six monthly maintenance sessions. Participants need to obtain 150 minutes of physical activity per week and lose approximately 5-7% of their body weight to obtain maximum benefit from the program. The CDC estimates that successfully completing a DPP can cut one's risk of developing diabetes in half.

To find a Diabetes Prevention Program near you, click here. If you are interested in becoming a CDC recognized DPP, contact Kate Andrus at Kate.Andrus@la.gov.

Diabetes Collaborative


The Diabetes Collaborative is a group of stakeholders working on diabetes efforts across the state. The Diabetes Collaborative aims to: 1) improve access to Diabetes Self-Management Education and Diabetes Prevention Programs, 2) advocate for reducing costs of diabetes education to persons living with diabetes, and 3) raise awareness of prediabetes. In addition, this group is responsible for writing and executing the Diabetes State Plan.

If you are interested in joining the Diabetes Collaborative, becoming a CDC-recognized DPP, or becoming a recognized or accredited DSME, contact Kate Andrus at Kate.Andrus@la.gov

Louisiana Diabetes Educators Network

The Louisiana Diabetes Educators Network (LaDEN) is comprised of Diabetes Educators and various health care professionals across the state of Louisiana. Well-Ahead Louisiana provides professional support and development to LaDEN by hosting webinar opportunities, online meetings, and in-person trainings. Continuing Education Units (CEU) are provided for dietitians and nurses upon participation.

Are you interested in joining LaDEN? LaDEN offers technical assistance, training and networking opportunities for Diabetes Educators. Please contact Kate Andrus at kate.andrus@la.gov or 225-342-2673 for more information.

Diabetes Self-Management and Education

Diabetes Self-Management and Education (DSME) programs are also evidence-based and effective. These programs provide approximately 10-12 hours of diabetes self-management principles. This includes: stress management, eating with diabetes, benefits of physical activity and the importance of medication adherence. Successful completion of DSME programs can reduce the burden of living with diabetes, greatly improve one’s quality of life, and can reduce overall healthcare costs.

There are over 50 Diabetes Self-Management and Education programs Louisiana, check out the map here. Use the links below to find a DSME program near you!