National Diabetes Month 2018 – Helping People Better Manage their Own Diabetes

By Marie L. Veselsky, RD, LD, CDE, BC-ADM 

November is National Diabetes Month and it is very common to see articles in November every year providing statistics of how wide spread diabetes has become. I’d rather talk about success stories for National Diabetes Month.

As a Registered Dietitian (RD), Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a Board Certified Advanced Diabetes Educator (BC-ADM) I have seen many a success story when people with diabetes learn to better manage their own diabetes. When a person plays a more active role in managing their own diabetes they can make a huge difference in their own outcome. I have seen people with pre-diabetes make the necessary changes to prevent from going on to develop diabetes type 2. I have seen people with diabetes type 2 significantly reduce their HgA1c and stop progression of their disease through a combination of a lower carb meal plan, weight loss and diabetes medications. I have seen Diabetes type 1 patients who have made diet and lifestyle changes reduce their HgA1c and risk for complications.

Research shows that Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) and/or attending Diabetes Self-Management Education Classes (DSME) can help you better manage your own diabetes and lower your HgA1c. The HgA1c is a blood test that can be used to track how a person is doing controlling their blood sugars. The higher the A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications. I have seen the HgA1c come down significantly when a person cuts down on the amount of carbohydrate they consume daily, loses weight, exercises when ready and able and makes other lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, behavior changes and stress reduction. On a lower carb, higher lean meat diet I have seen the bad cholesterol LDL come down and the good cholesterol HDL go up.

For success stories let’s start with a female patient diagnosed with pre-diabetes who started coming to me in February 2018. She thought she was going to have to go on diabetes medications and did not want to. Her body fat was 39% at that time which is considered obese and she indicated she was active, but not like she used to be. As of October 2018 (eight months later) she has lost 18 lbs. Her body fat has gone down to 33%. She continues to follow her individualized lower carb meal plan. She indicates she is now very active and all her labs are now good. Thus, she is still not on any diabetes, cholesterol or blood pressure medications. She continues to come in individually for accountability and support.

A male with diabetes type 2 who first came to me in December 2016. He was considered obese at 51% body fat and on Metformin for his diabetes. He has lost close to 50 lbs. through following his individualized lower carb meal plan and slowly increasing his walking. His HgA1c is now < 6. He no longer needs the metformin. He regularly attends our diabetes programs for reinforcement.

A male with diabetes type 2 who first came to me in June 2018 with diabetes type 2 and on both a long acting insulin at night and rapid acting with meals. He complained of episodes of low blood sugars and wanted to lose some weight and lower his HgA1c. He does not exercise, but is very active at work and has followed his individualized carb meal plan. As of October 2018 he has lost 4 inches off his waist where most his weight was. He also lost 30 lbs. He indicates he no longer needs his rapid acting insulin with meals. He continues to want to lose more weight and reduce all his insulin. He is currently coming to the Diabetes Self-Management Education Classes.

And finally, a female with type 2 diabetes and on glipizide, metformin and three blood pressure medications. She started coming to me in November 2017, after starting to have some significant health problems related to fatigue and dizziness. She quit coming because she thought she wasn’t losing weight fast enough and then came back. I told her to hang in there and she did. She has followed her individualized lower carb meal plan and is exercising almost every day. She has lost 37 lbs., dropped her body fat from 48% to 38%, is off her metformin and claims to be down to half of one pill of the glipizide. She is now off all but one blood pressure medication. She continues to come in for reinforcement and accountability.

Diabetes education, also referred to as diabetes self-management education, is performed by health care professionals who have appropriate credentials and experience consistent with the particular profession’s scope of practice. Diabetes self-management education is defined as the interactive, collaborative, ongoing process involving the person with diabetes or pre-diabetes and/or the caregivers and the educators.

As a Registered Dietitian (RD), I am licensed to practice Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) and can prescribe therapeutic diets. I will develop or adjust an individualized diabetes meal plan as indicated. In addition, as a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a Board Certified Advanced Management Diabetes Educator (BC-ADM) I am able to educate patients on self-blood glucose monitoring, review insulins, incretins and oral diabetes medications and teach insulin administration and technique including insulin to carb ratios. In addition, I can make recommendations for initiation or changes in medications/insulin regimes based on integration of nutrition, physical activity, medication, blood glucose or CGM data. I will work with your prescriber to adjust your diabetes regimen to help you achieve your optimal health.

At Integrated Optimal Health’s Choice Center for Diabetes & Weight Loss the focus of our program is to get back to the basics and believe people with diabetes can better control their blood sugars through a combination of meal planning, exercise, weight loss as appropriate, medications/insulin as needed and other lifestyle changes such as stress reduction. We provide education programs, support programs, stress reduction programs, yoga, massage and small group or one on one personal training. We work with other quality health care professionals in the community to utilize their expertise.

Integrated Optimal Health’s Choice Center for Diabetes & Weight Loss has been accredited as an AADE DEAP Diabetes Education Center since 2014 and our mission is to help people with diabetes better manage their own diabetes. Diabetes Self-Management Education Classes can help you better manage your own diabetes and are covered by most insurance if provided through an accredited diabetes center. On Tuesday 11/20/2018 at 12 noon and at 6:00pm, (low carb meal served) come listen to our APRN and Registered Dietitian, CDE, talk on “Know Your Diabetes Medications” to help people better understand their diabetes medications and make a more informed decision about how they and their prescriber want to manage their diabetes. Call 603-770-4856 for details. www.integratedoptimalhealth.com. 45 Washington, Street, Conway, NH.