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Diabetes Education

February 19, 2016

Over 29 million Americans have diabetes, and more than 86 million have pre-diabetes. With the number of reported cases on the rise South Central Kansas Medical Center has formed a proactive group of diabetes care providers to educate newly diagnosed patients, or re-educate patients who have become less vigilant with their diabetic care as time has gone by.

Over 29 million Americans have diabetes, and more than 86 million have pre-diabetes. With the number of reported cases on the rise South Central Kansas Medical Center has formed a proactive group of diabetes care providers to educate newly diagnosed patients, or re-educate patients who have become less vigilant with their diabetic care as time has gone by.

The team is headed by the hospital’s Registered Dietitian, Diane Ray, and also includes members of the physical therapy and nursing departments. Ray believes the key to diabetic control is diet and exercise.

“Choose healthy choices, learn what foods will raise your blood sugar and what wont. If we catch it soon enough, and the person gets moving and loses even five-percent weight loss it will help to bring the blood sugar down. Look at your plate as lean meat, and all the non-starchy vegetables you want, but be very careful with pastas and potatoes. I always tell my patients if it’s over the size of a baseball you are probably pushing it. A piece of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards. But if you can stay within that size, you will be fine,” Ray said.

Many people with pre-diabetes do not know they are at risk. According to the American Diabetes Association, common symptoms include urinating often, feeling very thirsty, blurry vision, and extreme fatigue. Those experiencing such symptoms are encouraged to follow up with their family physician for an A1c lab test to verify pre-diabetes.

“It’s always good to have an exam, but your family physician will set the guideline how often it is required. As you age, it should trigger more frequent testing. But if your test results are high, then it should be followed up every year with further guidance from your physician,” Ray said.

Through regular testing, those with pre-diabetes symptoms can be monitored and work with a diabetic team to prevent becoming diabetic.

“I really recommend getting with someone who can help to individualize your plan. Anytime you can get with a dietitian, physical therapists, or exercise expert and base a plan on your needs, or what you like, you will be more likely to stay with it. You can ask your family physician for a referral to a dietitian, and a lot of insurance plans will pay for it. I stay in contact with the doctor and he knows exactly where we are at diet wise, and I see the doctor’s lab work so I know where they are coming from on their end. It’s more of a team concept at that time,” Ray said.

For those who fail to correct pre-diabetes symptoms, the disease can lead to more dangerous health concerns such as eye disease, kidney disease, and heart disease.

If you are diligent about what you eat, yes it can be reversible. But if they keep letting it go, and don’t do those things to correct it, you get to where you have to take a pill to control blood sugar, and then you reach the point where you are having to use insulin to control it, and then that is where you start with the heart disease, and the eye disease, and the kidney disease. It’s a vicious circle at that point.

For more information about pre-diabetes or diabetic care contact your family physician.