Dana Stainbrook is used to meet people who feel overwhelmed.
"There is a lot of rejection of diabetes … minimizes it and thinks it's really not a problem," says Stainbrook, nurse and diabetes therapist with the Washington Health System.
However, Stainbrook's work with patients through the diabetes education and management program helps people who are both newly diagnosed and who have had diabetes for decades.
The majority of diabetes cases in the United States are Type 2, which means patients have insulin resistance, but their bodies can still produce insulin. Stainbrooke's first order is to focus on a healthy lifestyle and to let them know they are in the driver's seat when it comes to dealing with their diabetes.
"Lifestyle, healthy diet and exercise will always help blood sugar management," she said. "I'm always trying to tell them they're in the driver's seat, because that's what they do every day that makes the whole world with their results."
The problem, she said, is that type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. When someone is diagnosed, they have lost about 50 percent of their beta cells, which are the cells of the pancreas that make insulin.
"They will continue to lose about five percent more each year, so it's a gradual loss of the body's ability to produce insulin," says Stainbrook. "So what works today will not work for five years from now and it's not uncommon for them to require further oral medication as time passes and eventually needing insulin."
The first bits of information Stainbrook gives a new diabetes patient is the importance of healthy eating and increased 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 a gym membership. The best training is that you like it, and if you hate all exercise, I tell them to find the least minded person. They need to treat exercise as a drug. "
Just as easy as parking at the far end of the parking lot or going to the store, taking the steps instead of the lift and increasing the number of total increments throughout the day can make a remarkable difference in reducing insulin resistance and increasing blood sugar control, Sade Stainbrook.
As patients move, they must focus on their diet. But what Stainbrook recommends for an eating plan should not be considered a "diet".
"I say everyone in the family should eat as I say you should eat," said Stainbrook. "It's not a diet. It's the way everyone in America should eat. Healthy whole foods, fresh and frozen fruits, vegetables and meat – try to stay away from the bags, boxes and cans, and keep it simple as much as the number of ingredients in The product. It's only healthy to eat for everyone. "
With regard to sugar and carbohydrate handling, Stainbrook has some simple rules. She tells patients that when they look at labels, check on total carbohydrates and not just grams of sugar.
"If you avoid all carbohydrates, all that remains is protein and fat. It's not always good, she said." Remember, fruits and vegetables are good carbohydrates because they have plenty of fiber and nutrients. Carbohydrates turn to sugar, so if they eat too many carbohydrates, their sugar will run high despite medication or insulin. "
Similarly, too few carbohydrates can lower the blood sugar too much, so consistency is the key to carbohydrate intake.
Stainbrook said we usually eat what's fast and convenient. If you have a bag of cakes on the counter, eat them instead of taking time to chop vegetables or peel carrots. Her tip is to keep fresh, healthy snacks in abundance and ready to eat. She tells patients that no food is forbidden, but it's about being measured.
"The cake and ice cream are obviously not good, but it's up to part size," she said.
Another tip: She warns not to drink the carbohydrates in soda and sweetened drinks, which can quickly kill blood sugar and not add any nutrition. Artificial sweeteners are better than regular diabetics, but having sweet drinks can also make you request them even more.
Stainbrook said the diabetes program offers individual and group education and contains a diabetes prevention class.
"The program is designed for people with the closest family member and who increases the 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."
WHS prevention class meets weekly for 16 weeks, then moved to monthly meetings and is intended to prevent diabetes.
"If you can prevent a disease as opposed to treating it, it saves all the money and their health," said Stainbrook.
Her best advice to patients is not feeling helpless or hopeless. There are many resources available to help you manage diabetes and there are plenty of people who are willing and can help with medical advice as well as handle the emotional aspect of the disease.
Stainbrook said, "I had a woman tell me last week that she had had diabetes for 30 years and she said," You are the first person who has given me hope that I can actually do it myself and I can do things better . & # 39; "