Knowledge, hope from education
My job has me teaching people with diabetes a total lifestyle change. When the majority of people think about diabetes they refer to a list of foods that are forbidden. I will never forget the man who pounded on my office door demanding the “No-No” list for his wife.
He said, “Just give me the list of what she can’t eat and she’ll be fine.” I smiled at him and his persistence but responded, “I do not have a ‘No-No’ list. All my lists are ‘Yes-Yes’ lists.”
Yes, there is hope for everyone with the diagnosis of prediabetes or diabetes, Type 1 or Type 2. This includes gestational diabetes and a new form labeled Type 1.5.
Just last week, I was explaining that the primary cause of death due to diabetes 60 years ago was gangrene and infection caused by rusty injection needles. New medical advancements have given those who must inject insulin in 2012 a stainless steel needle that is less than an inch long and as thin as a strand of hair.
There is even an insulin pump with a small tube placed beneath the skin that communicates with a continuous blood sugar monitor eliminating calculations and injections. Scientists are now testing insulin that can be swallowed to eliminate the needle.
Meal planning (I hate the word ‘diet’) is as important as medication. Many people do not realize that the proper amount of carbohydrate, proteins and fats must accompany diabetic medication. It is like the use of gasoline and oil in a car. The engine cannot run with the wrong combination. Incorrect proportion can damage to the car. Likewise with the body, a miscalculation with the amount of food and medications can result in complications.
Exercise is underrated. One of my clients came to me more than 400 pounds, and in six weeks he went from shuffling to my office to walking a quarter mile four times a week. He reported that his blood sugars are more stable and the elastic on his pants is loose. He said that he almost lost his pants at the gas station. I think he weighs less than 400 pounds now.
This man feels better and is proud of his accomplishment. There is hope in learning more about diabetes. Starting out slow and gradually building up muscles is more encouraging than initially working too hard and quitting.
Few people realize the effect of stress on the body. I encourage my clients to find something beautiful to look at when stressed. One woman actually monitored her glucose before and after admiring a bouquet of flowers. The difference was amazing.
People tell me that I always write about diabetes. The reason is because the number of people that have diabetes as well as the number of people who live with or know someone with diabetes is increasing annually. The complications of diabetes like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, amputations, blindness, loss of feeling, depression, to name a few can be prevented in most people. It is my public service to offer hope.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator and a registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Aultman-Orrville Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330–684-4776.