Mathematics & Diabetics


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 Mathematics & Diabetics

It is a well known fact that as far as the treatment and management of diabetes is concerned; mathematics comes in handy all the time. While this may come as a surprise to many, it is important to underscore the relationship between mathematics and diabetes. In this text, I discuss the relevance of my chosen topic as well as the information I gathered on the same. I also discuss the mathematics involved in my chosen topic.

Mathematics and diabetics

According to Fonseca (2006), mathematics is the only discipline that is applicable in almost every facet of our lives be it business, design or even medicine. All over the world, doctors have over time used mathematics to compute a wide variety of issues and to carry out data analysis when attending to client concerns. When diagnosing a disease or even in surgery, math skills come in handy and it hence follows that math and science converge at one point or another. For instance, the discovery and development of various medications is a process informed by a substantial amount of trial and error. To come up with the correct dosage for manufacture, mathematics becomes critical.Further, Watkins (2002) notes that mathematics is not only relevant to scientists and doctors alone but also to diabetics as well.

In this regard, it has been noted that mathematical skills come in handy when it comes to the control of diabetes.  Based on the relevance of mathematics to medicine and diabetics as well, it is against this backdrop that I choose to discuss the connection between diabetes and mathematics.Recent studies show that those diabetics well endowed with basic mathematical skills are at a better chance of handling their diabetes well. The management of diabetes is not as simple as one may think. Towards that end, those who are unable to manage the same are seen to be paying lass attention to their diet by family as well as friends while others thing that the treatment they are accessing at any one time is not sufficient to fully address his or her condition.

However, as Watkins (2002) notes, there are other real issues that a diabetic has to contend with such as the calculation of carbohydrates as well as accurately assimilating what the meter shoes. A glucometer is a glucose measurement device that measures that amount of glucose in an individuals blood once fed with a little amount of blood from that individual.Fonseca (2006) notes that poor numerancy skills also go a long way towards affecting the patient’s ability to read the glucometer as well as record the results. It is important to note that all diabetics are required to record all the glucometer readings over time as this helps doctors observe the trend of their patients’ blood sugar.

Low numeracy skills in this case essentially mean the diabetic’s ability to record data shall be impaired.Further, when it comes to the observance of diet, a patient has to compute for instance the number of calories in a certain snack i.e. a packet of potato crisps etc. diabetics also have to compute their carbohydrates. This is because the amount of insulin you get is largely determined by the amount of carbohydrates you have. To put it into perspective;

15 grams of carbohydrates = 1 unit of insulin

However, the above equation should not be taken to be uniform for all individuals because not all people respond in the same way to insulin. This is the reason why doctors have to tailor the carbohydrate to insulin ratio of each individual in isolation. Fonseca (2006) notes that when it comes to the determination of a carbohydrate to insulin ration, or what is more popularly referred o as carb-to-insulin ratio, basic mathematical skills come in handy for the diabetic. For diabetics with type 1 diabetes, the rule of the thumb is a 450/500 ratio. Those who use regular insulin are supposed to get the carbohydrate grams covered by a single insulin unit by dividing 450 with their daily insulin dose.

For instance, a man uses 30 units of regular insulin every day. He carb to insulin ratio of such a man shall be a single unit of insulin for every fifteen carbohydrate grams. The ratio can be presented as follows;450/30 = 15; where 30 is the total dose and 15 is the grams of carbohydrates a single unit of insulin covers.Also, it is important to note that the ability of a diabetic to adjust his or her insulin dose is largely dependent on his or her ability to correctly use as well as interpret the data availed by the meter. Further, when it comes to the management of diabetes, the utilization of math skills do not end with the computation of the carb-to-insulin ratio.

Diabetics have to calculate their ideal body weight in addition to calculating calories. When it comes to weight computation, diabetics are supposed to maintain an ideal body weight. For women, those who are 5 feet tall should have a weight of around 100 pounds. For every inch after five feet, one is supposed to add five pounds to ascertain the ideal body weight. For men, those who are 5 feet tall should have a weight of around 106 pounds. For every inch after five feet, one is supposed to add 6 pounds to ascertain the ideal body weight. Diabetics not adept with mathematics can hence have trouble ascertaining their ideal body weight.The computation of calories is yet another aspects that calls for basic skills in mathematics for the diabetic.

Counting calories for diabetics has particular benefits as far as weight reduction is concerned. When it comes to the control of diabetes, weight and diet are o essence. It is therefore in the best interests of an individual who is diabetic to loose weight in addition to monitoring his or her diet. For those who suffer from type 2 diabetes, the recommended calorie intake is approximately 1800 and 1500 calories a day for men and women respectively. For instance, it is advisable for diabetics to check on labels and take into consideration the serving sizes as far as counting calories is concerned. If a package has 16 while the size of serving is given as eight ounces the diabetic should ensure that he or she multiplies the items by 2 to ascertain the actual calorie number as far as the entire package is concerned


It is clear that basic mathematical skills come in handy as far as the control and management of diabetics is concerned. It therefore goes without saying that any diabetic not well endowed with the basic mathematical capabilities shall inevitably encounter difficulties as far as the computation of calories as well as carbohydrates for insulin determination is concerned.


Fonseca, V.A. (2006). Clinical diabetes: translating research into practice. Elsevier Health Sciences

Watkins, P.J. (2002). ABC of diabetes. Wiley-Blackwell

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