Working with a diabetes educator can help answer questions and alleviate stress.
Five years ago Bobbie Brown was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. She met with her physician in Chico, California, and they came up with a care plan trying various medications, but nothing seemed to help. She couldn’t eat anything without feeling terrible and lost over 30 pounds. Feeling discouraged she sought a second opinion from an endocrinologist.
A New Diagnosis
After doing several tests, her endocrinologist determined that she actually has type 1 diabetes, which meant a completely different treatment plan would need to be in place to get her back on track.
“Frequently patients with diabetes are frustrated when they have been trying very hard to manage their condition and aren’t seeing the results they had hoped for,” Breanna Bergeron, Kootenai Clinic diabetes educator, said. “It’s a relief for patients to know that there are many options available when treating diabetes. It is our job
to work with the patient to find the one that works best for them and that they can be the most successful with.”
Breanna has been working with Bobbie and her husband, Pat, since they moved to northern Idaho a few years ago. Breanna helps Bobbie develop meal plans, dial in her insulin doses, and learn about technology and devices that can help her better manage her diabetes.
“I didn’t know what all was involved in managing diabetes,” Pat said. “We’re so grateful to be able to work with an educator and know how to take this on ourselves.”
Since receiving her new diagnosis, Bobbie said she’s feeling great and can confidently manage her diabetes through careful monitoring and precise insulin dosing.
“Getting diagnosed with diabetes changed everything,” she said. “Before, I ate whatever I wanted and didn’t exercise much. I have to admit, I was a sucker for pies. But now I really think about everything I eat and try to exercise more regularly.”
With each patient, diabetes educators perform a needs assessment. Educators get to know their patient, figure out what they already know about managing diabetes and look at what they still need to work on. From there, they can explore various treatment options, which usually include developing an appropriate eating and activity plan, along with discussing what medications and/or devices may be appropriate for their situation. Services provided by diabetes educators at Kootenai Clinic include:
- Education on use of insulin and non-insulin diabetes medications
- One-on-one diabetes self-management training, as well as group sessions
- Training on multiple devices, including glucometers, insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors
- Medical nutrition therapy
- Gestational diabetes counseling
“Knowledge is power when it comes to diabetes,” Breanna said. “I always encourage people to not give up when something isn’t working; there’s always another way to treat your diabetes—we may just have to work to find it.”