Dana Stainbrook serves as a meeting with people who feel overwhelmed.
"There's a lot of denial with diabetes … Minimizing it and thinking it's really not a problem," said Stainbrook, a nurse and diabetes educator with the Washington health system.
However, Steinbrook's work with patients through the Diabetes Education and Management program helps people who are newly diagnosed and have lived with diabetes for decades.
Most diabetes cases in the United States are type 2, which means that patients have insulin resistance, but their body can still produce insulin. Stainbrook's first business order is to focus on a healthy lifestyle and inform them that they are in the driver's seat when it comes to managing their diabetes.
"Lifestyle, healthy eating and exercise always help manage blood sugar," she said. "I always try to tell them they're in the driver's seat because that's what they do every day that makes all the difference in the world with their results."
The problem, she said, is that type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. Until someone is diagnosed, they have lost about 50 percent of their beta cells, which are the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.
"They will continue to lose about 5 percent each year, so it's a gradual loss of the body's ability to produce insulin," Steinbrook said. "So what works today is not going to work in five years, and it's not unusual for them to require additional oral medications as time passes and ultimately require insulin."
The first parts of Stainbrook information gives a new diabetic patient the importance of healthy eating and increasing physical activity.
"It could be a 10-minute walk after a meal or a thirty-minute walk every day," she said. "They do not have to spend money on fitness companies, the best exercise to do is the one you enjoy, and if you hate the whole exercise, then I tell them to find the one that is less resistant to them. .
Something as simple as parking at the far end of the parking lot or walking in a store, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and increasing the total number of steps during the day can make an amazing difference in reducing insulin resistance and increasing blood blood control, Stainbrook said.
Once the patients move, they should focus on their diet. However, what Stainbrook recommends for an eating plan should not be considered a "diet".
"I tell people that everyone in the family should eat as much as I tell you to eat," Steinbrook said. "It's not a diet, so everyone in America needs to eat, fresh whole foods, fresh and frozen fruits, vegetables and meat – try to stay away from the bags, cans and cans, and stay as simple as the number of ingredients in the product.
As for managing sugar and carbohydrates, Stainbrook has some simple rules. She tells patients that when they look at labels, look at total carbohydrates and not just grams of sugar.
"If you avoid all the carbs, all that's left is protein and fat, that's not always good," she said. "Remember that fruits and vegetables are good carbohydrates because they have a lot of fiber and nutrients, and carbohydrates turn to sugar, so if they eat too much carbohydrates, their sugar will run high despite drugs or insulin.
Also, eating too few carbohydrates can lower blood sugar too much, so viability is the key to carbohydrate intake.
Stainbrook said we tend to eat what is quick and convenient. If you have a bag of cookies on the counter, eat them instead of taking time to chop vegetables or carrot peel. Her tips include keeping snacks fresh, healthy and plentiful and ready to eat. She tells patients that there is no forbidden food, but it's all about moderation.
"Obviously, cake and ice cream are not good, but it depends on a smooth size," she said.
One more tip: it warns not to drink your carbohydrates in soda and sugary drinks, which can quickly shoot blood sugar and not add any nutrition. Artificial sweeteners are better than regular sugar for diabetics, but having sweet drinks can also make you crave them even more.
According to Steinbrook, the education program for diabetics offers individual and group education and includes a department for diabetes prevention.
"The program is designed for people who have an immediate family member and that increases their risk," she adds. "It is a weight loss program, but also for people who have a family history of the disease or other indicators of diabetes."
The class denies WHS a weekly season for 16 weeks, and then goes to monthly meetings designed to help prevent diabetes.
"If you can prevent illness instead of treating it, it saves everyone money and their health," Steinbrook said.
Her best advice to patients is not feeling helpless or hopeless. There are many resources available to help you manage diabetes and there are many people willing and able to help with medical advice as well as dealing with the emotional aspect of the disease.
Steinbrook said, "I had a lady telling me last week that she had contracted diabetes for 30 years, and she said, 'You're the first person who gave me hope I could really do it alone and I could do things better.'