January 27, 2015

Help in Diabetes Management Education – Part 1

Part 1 of 12

How many parts this will evolve into is a big question, but by the above you know that this will be in twelve parts. The first part is about knowing your equipment, how to use it, and the temperatures at which it can be operated. Yes, I have written about this before, but I still receive emails asking me where to find this information. Unfortunately, some of the emails tell me they could care less about proper storage or even using their meter at the proper temperature or even the test strips, as the doctor does not look at their logs even though he is the one telling them to test.

Sadly, this involves many patients and too many think they are testing for their doctor. Many of these are the same people that take the prescription for the pills (oral medication) and keep on the same destructive lifestyle. Yes, they take the medication or medications, but nothing else is changed. It is when they have the second or third appointment and the doctor tells them that their A1c is getting worse and really chews them out, that some wake up and decide to change, but again they don't know what to do or even how to make the changes necessary.

Knowing and learning about your diabetes equipment is saving the instructions that came with the equipment. Yes, the print is often smaller than many people my age enjoy reading, but that is why I keep a magnifier on my desk. The instructions for the meter are important and should be read. Learn the operating temperature range and the same for the test strips. Always keep the test strips in the container they are in and know the places not to store them.

A few summers ago, I had to wrap a cold pack in a towel and place it in a cooler and put my test strips in a large cooler when the air conditioner quit working. The temperature in the apartment was over 100 degrees and fans did help, but not enough for the test strips. I did not have any problems by storing them using this method.

In many rural or less populated areas of the United States, certified diabetes educators are not available so hopefully your doctor will give your some help or have a nurse that can help you. Diabetes support groups are also a good resource provided they share information and teach.

In the area I live in, I am aware of two certified diabetes educators; however, they have the title of registered dietitian (RD) listed before the CDE title. We have discovered they do more to preach high carbohydrate – low fat than they talk about managing diabetes or even how to test. We have determined that they don't want us to test to discover how their food plans spike our blood glucose levels. The emphasis is very heavy on whole grains and we all have found that this does not work for most of us with type 2 diabetes.

We are happy that my cousin, Suzanne, has been working with the members of our support group. Even the new members have been appreciative of her help and are asking when we will have her back. I have said that they may contact her when they have questions and that is why she gave them a business card with her telephone number on it. Most say that they don't want to abuse this as she can only charge their insurance or Medicare for two hours and they don't want to use up their time immediately. I tell them to ask questions the next time she will be present, as we are planning that for February.

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