Education key to manage diabetes.
Naperville Sun HealthAware column:
Diabetes education leads to better disease management
October 30, 2012
When 22-year-old Stephanie Stadtherr of Naperville arrived at the Edward ER in the summer of 2011, her Type 1 diabetes seemed to be winning the battle. Her glucose levels had been out of control, and she was very sick with a life-threatening complication called diabetic ketoacidosis. She was given insulin and treated for dehydration.
Later visits to the doctor revealed she had a tumor and a cyst in her kidney. In January of 2012, she underwent surgery to remove the growths and part of her right kidney. Soon after that, her vision started to blur as a result of diabetic retinopathy.
Today, Stephanie’s feeling much better and hoping treatment will head off any further loss of vision. She’s become affiliated with a primary care physician and gotten help from the Edward Diabetes Center.
"When you have a long-term disease, you really need education and support to keep on track,” says Celia Morelos, a certified diabetes educator at Edward.
Each patient at the center receives a personalized treatment plan developed by the staff with input from the patient and the primary care physician.
“There are as many diabetic treatments as there are diabetics,” Morelos says. “You have to look at the whole person and their family’s lifestyle.”
As a certified diabetes educator, Morelos is qualified to train diabetic patients in the use of their medical equipment. She also counsels them on the other keys to diabetes management: diet and exercise. The goal of treatment is to maintain blood sugar levels that are as consistently acceptable as possible.
“Celia taught me so much about what foods to eat, as well as everything I know about my insulin pump,” Stadtherr says. “She also helped me cope with day-to-day life. I really appreciate all that she and the others at the center did for me. They encouraged me to take good care of myself without being hard on me if I ever slipped up.”
Morelos also helped Stadtherr get the resources needed for successful diabetes management. She now has an insulin pump donated by another patient, and she receives free insulin. As a result of this support, and especially Stadtherr’s own efforts, there has been a significant improvement in her A1C tests — a measure of glucose control over an extended period.
“I would tell anyone who has diabetes that there are people out there who can help you,” Stadtherr says. “I didn’t think there were, and I didn’t want to go. But (the diabetes educators) really do help you become determined to do better.”
The Edward Diabetes Center provides education and medical nutritional therapy for children, teens and adults living with Type 1 or 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes or gestational diabetes. The center has been an American Diabetes Association Recognized Diabetes Center since 2001. And in 2012 the center earned Joint Commission Disease-Specific Certification for Advanced Inpatient Diabetes care.
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services