Health Assessments

Diabetes Risk Assessment

In the United States, diabetes is the #7 cause of death, and 25.8 million children and adults have diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are higher than normal due to the body’s inability to either produce or use insulin (a hormone that regulates blood glucose). 

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes, which means the body does not produce insulin
  • Type 2 diabetes, which means the body is not using insulin well
  • Gestational diabetes, which is high blood sugar (diabetes) that begins or is first diagnosed during pregnancy

Diabetes can cause serious health complications — heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations — and early detection of diabetes can help prevent these complications.

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst or hunger
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow-healing wounds or bruises
  • Unusual weight loss or weight gain
  • Numbness, pain, or tingling in extremities (hands and feet)

Early detection of diabetes and disease management is important for living a healthy life. Freeman Diabetes Education can help you learn to manage your diabetes with training provided by professional diabetes educators who are certified through National Certification Board of Diabetes Educators.

Learn your diabetes risk

The Freeman Diabetes Assessment, offered free of charge, can help you learn your eight-year risk of developing diabetes, whether you have a metabolic syndrome, risk factors associated with diabetes and steps to take to reduce your risk. The assessment takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete, and asks demographic questions and medical history questions.

After completing online assessment, you'll receive a free personalized report that outlines important information about your health. This report can be printed and downloaded. We encourage you to print your report and bring it to your next appointment with your physician.

Take the Freeman Diabetes Assessment today!

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Jul 03, 2014

Summer Healthy Living Tips for those with Diabetes

Summertime brings barbeques, parties and trips, but it can also bring unhealthy foods and habits. The good news is that you can enjoy summer fun and stay on track with your healthy living goals. Try these tips!

Summertime brings barbeques, parties and trips, but it can also bring unhealthy foods and habits. The good news is that you can enjoy summer fun and stay on track with your healthy living goals. Try these tips!

Lose excess body weight. Every pound of excess body weight lost improves your overall health. A modest weight loss of 7% can improve your blood sugar and reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 60%.

Become more physically active. Regular exercise is an important component of diabetes management. Your exercise plan should include both aerobic and strength training. Examples of aerobic exercise include brisk walking, bicycling, jogging and dancing; examples of strength training include free weights, resistance bands, pushups, sit ups, squats and lunges.

Watch for added calories and carbohydrates. Pay attention to condiments when eating summer meals. Just two tablespoons of ketchup or relish can add an additional 10 grams of carbohydrates each – for a healthier option, try adding mustard instead. Also, include low-carbohydrate vegetables such as asparagus, summer squash, tomatoes, onions or zucchini in your grilled meals.

Keep carbohydrates under control. Carbohydrate counting is a very effective way to control blood glucose levels and manage weight. Use the diabetes plate method to help plan your meals:

  • Place an imaginary line down the middle of a nine-inch dinner plate.
  • Divide one side in half again so you have three sections on your plate.
  • Fill the largest section of the plate with non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, green beans or cucumbers.
  • Add lean protein such as skinless chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, tofu or low-fat cheese to one of the smaller sections of the plate.
  • Add starchy foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes, peas, squash, beans/lentils, grits or tortillas to the other smaller section.
  • Add a serving of fruit or dairy and a low-calorie drink to complete your delicious and healthy meal.
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Fall Road

Oct 08, 2015

Fall Travel with Diabetes

Fall is a great time of year to take a trip – the weather is getting cooler and the leaves are beginning to turn beautiful colors.

Travelling when you have diabetes can pose some challenges; however with proper planning, your trips will be fun and worry-free.

A change in your normal routine may increase your risk of high or low blood sugar. Often, when you are traveling, you are walking more. On the other hand, you may be eating more unfamiliar foods that you are not able to count as easily into your meal plan. Keeping your meter and extra strips with you will help you closely monitor your blood sugar. Certainly, if you are not feeling well, you should check your blood sugar.

Make sure to bring nonperishable snacks, such as  glucose tablets and juice boxes, in case meals are delayed. Keeping these snacks close by will make it easier to treat low blood sugar. If your blood sugar has dropped to less than 70 mg/dL, you’ll need to consume a fast acting carbohydrate such as the glucose tablets or juice mentioned above.

If you are going to be gone on an overnight trip, make sure to bring extra medication or emergency prescriptions in case you are delayed getting back home. An insurance card and emergency contact phone numbers will help if you run into any medical emergency along the way. If traveling by air, ask your physician for a note to help you get diabetes supplies through security at the airport. Also, research where to find medical care in the area can be helpful. Other supplies that are helpful to have with you while traveling include: extra batteries, cell phone, medical alert bracelet, waterproof insulated bag or cooler for insulin, comfortable shoes and an extra pair of socks.

Most of all, remember that getting away from your day-to-day routine should be fun and enjoyable!

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Aug 21, 2015

Sitting is the new Smoking

“If it weren't for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn't get any exercise at all.” – Joey Adams, American Comedian

You may have heard in the news that sitting is the new smoking, as far as an increase in health risks goes. Many of us do a lot of sitting throughout the day – commuting to and from work, sitting at a desk all day and/or sitting on the couch at home. Prolonged sitting can take years off your life. Dr. James Levine, Director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative, studied the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles for years and summed up his findings in two sentences: “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death. “ 

Sitting shortens lives by increasing the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer and heart disease. In addition, exercising later in the day unfortunately doesn’t necessarily undo the negative effects of prolonged sitting. 

You may be wondering what you can do to take some of those years of your life back. Try these tips:

  • When possible, opt to climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator
  • Walk to your coworker’s desk instead of sending an email or making a phone call
  • Plan a walking meeting
  • Stretch for a few minutes every few hours
  • Wear a pedometer and set a goal of walking 10,000 steps each day
  • Take a 10-minute walk break instead of checking your cell phone or personal email

Try one of the above suggestions for three weeks, or until it becomes a lifestyle change. Then, pick another habit and try it for three weeks. Invite your coworkers to do this as well. As you know, being accountable to others for your behavior makes it more likely that the habit will stick. 

Think happy; think healthy!

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Dec 23, 2016

Practical Tips for Handling Holiday Stress and Blood Sugar Control

Keeping blood sugar controlled on a normal day can seem difficult and even stressful.


Keeping blood sugar controlled on a normal day can seem difficult and even stressful. Add the extra anxiety of holiday planning, travel arrangements, work schedules, holiday parties and gift-giving, and suddenly blood sugar maintenance feels even harder. Stress alone can raise blood sugar levels – and that’s without those sweet holiday treats! Find a sense of calm and good cheer this season with the following helpful tips:

  1. Adjust expectations

No one is perfect. Expecting to eat perfectly, take medicine perfectly and have perfect blood sugar may lead to frustration and disappointment. Relax a little and understand that everyone makes mistakes. Instead of giving in to disappointment, accept grace and move forward – even if it feels like taking two steps forward, one step back most of the time. Remember to celebrate every success!

  1. Take one day at a time

Staying healthy over the long term, requires making daily choices to stay healthy. Unhealthy choices add up over time and any short-term satisfaction gained from unhealthy choices can lead to long-term regret. Break that cycle before it starts and find alternatives to stay satisfied. Instead of reaching for the sweets or comfort food in times of stress, find something that feeds the soul instead – like a conversation with a friend, or a good book and a cup of hot tea (unsweetened or with a sugar-free sweetener, of course).  

  1. Plan ahead

Before encountering those tricky holiday potluck parties or tempting cookie platters, think proactively. Planning ahead can help reduce stress when facing those tough situations. Pack a healthy snack to share instead of sugary or high-carb treats. Eat before the party or special event. Limit indulgences and take medicine appropriately. Decide beforehand what to tell people who ask about these lifestyle changes. Consider all the options and always keep positive goals in mind. If the plan includes indulging a little, prepare for what may happen in the event of a blood sugar spike.

  1. Find support

Keeping blood sugar controlled and making healthy choices can be difficult. Support groups offer the opportunity to confide in others with similar challenges and struggles. Sometimes disappointment can lead to anxiety and even depression, making it difficult to eat well and take medications consistently. Speak to a mental health counselor who can listen and provide help.

About the author

Bethany Doak, RN, is a Certified Diabetes Educator for Freeman Diabetes Education. Having lived with type 1 diabetes since the age of 5, Bethany’s diagnosis inspires her every day to help others live well and take control of their health. Freeman offers a monthly Type 2 Diabetes Support Group and a quarterly Type 1 Diabetes Support Group for those living with diabetes, their families and friends. For more information on diabetes care, visit

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Dec 12, 2018

Mindful Eating During the Holidays

Healthful eating is not a restrictive diet plan filled with tasteless, joyless foods, but a mindset and lifestyle that incorporates a balance of all foods.


Eating healthfully during the holidays seems like an impossible task. What is “healthful eating” anyway? It means no white foods, drink only kale smoothies, and if it tastes good, don’t eat it, right? Wrong. There is a great deal of misinformation about what it means to eat healthy.

Healthful eating is not a restrictive diet plan filled with tasteless, joyless foods, but a mindset and lifestyle that incorporates a balance of all foods. Healthful eating means balance and establishing a healthy relationship with food. Love the donut and love the apple, shamelessly and guilt-free. 

Many times, my clients are so worried about gaining weight during the holidays, and because they are so weight focused, they miss out on the joy of eating. Take the taboo out of your holiday favorites and allow yourself to enjoy them mindfully. Meaning, allow yourself to eat a moderate amount until you are comfortably full. Don’t feel that you can’t have a taste –   deprivation leads to overeating. However, don’t feel you must try everything you’re offered to appease a family member. It’s OK to say, “No thank you – I am full.”

Food is a fuel, and sometimes our bodies need different types and amounts of fuel from day to day. I encourage you to pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you are hungry, and stop when comfortably full. Look for ways to increase fruits, vegetables and legumes. Most of us need more of these, and they do much for our bodies.

I challenge you to be present this holiday season as you spend precious time with loved ones. I encourage you to whip up some of your favorite holiday treats and share them with friends and family. Take time for yourself and reflect on the meaning of the holidays. Eating healthy is much more than weight alone and you are so much more than your weight alone.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

About the Author

Haley Brannan, RDN, LD, is a clinical dietitian for Freeman Diabetes Education. Freeman is the only local hospital with diabetes educators that are certified through National Certification Board of Diabetes Educators and certified insulin pump trainers. To learn more visit or call 417.347.5700.

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Jun 06, 2018

The Nursing Education Fund – How You Can Give

The Nursing Education Fund – How You Can Give

Having highly trained and educated nurses is a priority at Freeman Health System. The Nursing Education Fund is available to eligible Freeman nurses who want to further their nursing education. Money from the fund can be used for advancing a degree, a specialty certification (which can help an RN achieve a higher level in TAPP), healthcare projects or conferences that may be too expensive to attend without assistance. 

In 2017, I received funds to assist with my pursuit of a Master's Degree in Nursing – Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. I used the funds to help pay for tuition and reduce the amount of student loans I needed – and I could use the funds as I saw fit. 

Donating to the fund helps promote the profession of nursing. Nursing has developed from a technical trade to a body of science that is based in research, theory and the art of healing. Nurses are a vital piece in the healthcare system, providing quality, safe care with skills in bedside care, informatics, quality improvement, administration, education and community health services –  just to name a few. For the profession to grow, we as nurses need to invest in ourselves, and the Nursing Education Fund helps us do that. We hope you consider making a contribution today.

To learn more about giving options, visit

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May 22, 2018

Know Your Risk For Disease

Your health is important to you.


Your health is important to you. Do you know if you are at risk for future health problems? Knowing your risk of a disease can help you take the right steps to prevent or manage it.

Freeman Health System provides several free Online Health Risk Assessments to help you have a better understanding of your risk for disease. Freeman offers assessments for breast cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart problems and weight-loss surgery. Assessments can be downloaded and printed to your physician.

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment

The Breast Cancer Risk Assessment is a quick, seven-question assessment. In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in American women and 2,550 new cases in American men. If you answer yes to any of the questions, you may be at an increased risk of breast cancer. Please call Wes & Jan Houser Women’s Pavilion at 417.347.7777 to schedule an in depth high-risk assessment.

Diabetes Risk Assessment

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30.3 million American adults have diabetes, 7.2 million of those adults are undiagnosed. Many factors, such as family history and diet, play into a person’s risk of diabetes. The Freeman Diabetes Risk Assessment can help you learn your eight-year risk of developing diabetes. Once the assessment is completed, you’ll receive a personalized report outlining information about your health. Contact Freeman Diabetes Education at 417.347.5700 for more information.

Stroke Risk Assessment

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. The Freeman Stroke Risk Assessment can help you learn about your stroke risk, risk factors associated with stroke and steps to take to reduce the risk. Once you complete the assessment, you’ll receive a personalized report outlining information about your health.

Heart Health Assessment

Every 44 seconds someone suffers a heart attack. Equipped with the right tools you can control factors that lead to heart disease, which include monitoring cholesterol and blood pressure, quitting smoking and managing stress. The assessment takes 10 – 15 minutes to complete. For more information contact Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute at 417.347.5000.

Weight-loss Surgery Assessment

Discover if weight-loss surgery may be an option for you. The Weight-Loss Surgery Assessment helps determine your weight category and if you should lose weight. Additionally, it identifies your weight-related issues and conditions. For more information about Freeman Bariatric Center, call Janice at 417.347.1266.

All Freeman Online Health Assessments can be found here. An assessment is intended for informational purposes only. Please contact your healthcare provider if you believe you are at risk of a disease.

About the Author

Shelby Allen, RN, BSN, has led the Freeman Prevention & Wellness team for more than 20 years.  The team consists of Freeman Screen Team, Freeman WellBalance, and wellness programming to area schools and businesses.  She is a nurse and certified wellness director, bringing prevention and detection to the community.  For more information, call Freeman Prevention & Wellness at 417.347.5646. 

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May 03, 2018

Accurate Health Information You Can Depend On

Where would you look for information about treating obesity – would you ask a friend, read a magazine or consult your healthcare provider?


Modern technology harnesses the power of the internet to access a wealth of information instantly, almost anywhere. Freeman Health System recognizes the importance of providing accurate health information, and has positioned itself as the source for information you can trust. We help you take advantage of technology by offering free access to our mobile-friendly health resource libraries, where you can find condition-specific information, whenever you need it.

Have you ever wanted to test your knowledge about stroke or understand how to determine your body mass index? Where would you look for information about treating obesity – would you ask a friend, read a magazine or consult your healthcare provider? While these can be a good starting place, your success in developing a healthy lifestyle depends on your ability to find accurate information and how well you understand and apply what you learn.

Current offerings include BARIATRIC and DIABETES libraries, as well as other tools found in the Health Resources section at Our website enables you to learn in an interactive environment, and content is arranged with you in mind, so information is easy to find. Articles, quizzes and videos are available to teach you about each condition, helping you to make well-informed decisions about your health.

Quality of life requires good health and possibly a little luck. Learning about health helps you develop a healthy lifestyle and puts you in control. Turn to Freeman as your source for trusted, accurate health information. If you need a place to start, explore our website, take advantage of our free online risk assessments and use them on a regular basis. Try keeping BMI and blood pressure readings in a journal to track your risk of diabetes and stroke. And most of all, take time to enjoy life, eat healthy, get some exercise, celebrate successes, nurture friendships, keep learning and let Freeman help you become the best version of you that you can be – you deserve it.

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Mar 27, 2018

Preventing and Managing Prediabetes

When sugar enters the bloodstream after eating, the pancreas secretes insulin, which helps your body’s cells take in sugar.

While diabetes affects more than 30 million people in the U.S., another 84 million people have prediabetes, a condition that produces higher than normal blood sugar levels because the body no longer processes blood sugar properly. No signs or symptoms present themselves, but those with prediabetes have a good chance of progressing into type 2 diabetes.

The process of moving sugars from the bloodstream and into cells starts working improperly when an individual has prediabetes, much the way it does with type 2 diabetes. When sugar enters the bloodstream after eating, the pancreas secretes insulin, which helps your body’s cells take in sugar. With prediabetes, not enough insulin is made and high amounts of sugar remain in the bloodstream, causing high blood sugar.

Factors that increase the risk of developing prediabetes include dietary patterns, weight, inactivity, age, family history, sleep problems and age. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits can significantly help prevent or delay prediabetes, as well as progression to type 2 diabetes.

Managing weight and keeping the body healthy is essential to preventing prediabetes. A 40-minute brisk walk five times a week is an easy way to get some non-vigorous exercise. A standard meal should consist of 50 percent fruits and vegetables, 30 percent grains/starches and 20 percent protein. A variety of foods ensures necessary nutrients are entering the body. Liquids such as coffee, tea and water should be consumed regularly throughout the day to remain hydrated. Eating the correct portion sizes also helps to regulate and maintain weight. These amounts should be consumed every day:

  • Fruits – 1½ to 2½ cups
  • Vegetables – 2 to 3½ cups
  • Grains – 5 to 10 ounces
  • Protein – 5 to 7 ounces
  • Dairy – 3 cups
  • Oils – 5 to 8 teaspoons
  • Solid fats and added sugars – small amounts

Exercising and eating right are the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Doing so can be difficult, but dedication, taking precautions for safety and education can help prevent and manage prediabetes.

March 27, 2018, is American Diabetes Association Alert Day®, a one-day “wake-up” call for individuals to take a look at their risk for developing diabetes. Freeman Health System encourages people to take the one-minute type 2 diabetes risk test. The test can be found at

About Susan Pittman

Susan Pittman, RD, LD, CDE, leads the Freeman Health System Diabetes Education team. Certified through the National Certification Board of Diabetes Educators, she provides nutritional counseling to patients with diabetes and those at-risk of developing the disease. For more information, call Diabetes Education at 417.347.5700.

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Nov 05, 2021

How Walking Can Benefit People with Diabetes

People with diabetes work continuously to keep blood sugars in a healthy range to avoid developing diabetic complications.

Eating healthy and taking medications as prescribed are only part of the plan. The American Diabetes Association also recommends 30 minutes or more of daily physical activity to help control blood sugars.

Physical activity has many benefits for overall health, such as boosting energy, improving mood, controlling weight, reducing stress and promoting better sleep. It can also be social and enjoyable and help manage other health conditions, in addition to diabetes.

Any physical activity is beneficial, but many people manage blood sugars and weight with simply walking each day. Walking is a great way to exercise for many reasons. It is low impact, it can be done anywhere inside or outside, all ages can take part and it is free! More than half the muscles in your body are designed for walking, which makes it a very natural movement that can be done at any pace.

How can walking help control blood sugars though? Normally the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin when you eat. Insulin acts as a key to allow glucose from the blood stream to enter the body’s cells and other tissues, lowering the blood sugar level. With diabetes, most people develop resistance to insulin making it harder for glucose to enter cells and tissues. Walking and other exercises decrease insulin resistance, improving insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control.

Walking can also enhance weight loss, which can aid in blood sugar control. Walking may help the body burn calories and increase metabolism by building muscle mass. A weight loss of even 7 – 10% can help with insulin response and improve blood sugar control.

Remember to ensure safe physical activity with any exercise, including walking:

  • Test blood sugars before and after walking.
  • Always warm up before exercise with easy, gentle movements and cool down at the end of exercise by slowing down the activity and stretching the muscles.
  • Wear the appropriate clothing for comfort and wear well-fitting athletic shoes to prevent blisters, cuts and sores.
  • Prevent dehydration by bringing a water bottle with you.
  • Always carry an ID in case of an emergency.
  • If you have a fever or have high blood sugars with positive ketones, avoid exercise until feeling better.


November is American Diabetes Month. Learn more about Freeman Diabetes Education or take a free, online Diabetes Risk Assessment at

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