Dana Stainbrook is used for meetings with people who feel overwhelmed.
"There is a lot of denial in diabetes … minimizing it and thinking it's not really a problem," said Stainbrook, a medical nurse and diabetes specialist at the Washington Health System.
But Stainbrook's work with patients through the education and diabetes management program helps people who are new to diagnosis and who have been living diabetes for decades.
Most cases of diabetes in the US are type 2, meaning that patients have insulin resistance, but their body still can produce insulin. The first business of Stainbrook is to focus on a healthy lifestyle and enable them to know they are in the driver's seat when it comes to managing their diabetes.
"Lifestyle, healthy nutrition and exercise will always help manage sugar," she said. "I'm always trying to say that they are in the driver's seat, because that's what they do everyday, making the difference in the world with their results."
The problem is, he says, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. By the time someone was diagnosed, they lost about 50 percent of their beta cells, which are insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
"They will still lose about five percent more each year, and gradually lose their body's ability to produce insulin," Stainbrook said. "So, what is happening today will not work for five years, and it's not unusual to require additional oral medicines as time passes and eventually require insulin."
First Information Stainbrook gives a new patient with diabetes the importance of healthy eating and increased physical activity.
"It can be a 10-minute walk per meal or thirty minutes walk every day," she said. "You do not have to spend money on a gym membership. The best exercise to do is what you enjoy, and if you hate all the exercises, then I tell them (to) find the one that's the least unpleasant to them.
Something as simple as parking at the ultimate parking lot or walking in a store, taking steps instead of elevators and increasing the number of total steps throughout the day may mean a difference in reducing insulin resistance and increasing blood sugar control, Stainbrook said.
Once the patients are moving, they need to concentrate on their diet. However, what Stainbrook recommends for a diet plan should not be considered a "diet".
"I tell people that everyone in the family should eat the way I tell you to eat," Stainbrook said. Fresh whole foods, fresh and frozen fruits, vegetables and meat – try to keep away from bags, boxes and cans, and keep it simple as much as the ingredients in the product It's just a healthy food for everyone. "
As for the management of sugar and carbohydrates, Stainbrook has some simple rules. She tells patients that when they look at the labels, look at the total carbohydrates, not just the sugar beet.
"If you avoid all carbohydrates, all that remains 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. Carbs turn into sugar, so if they eat too much carbohydrates, their sugar will work high despite drugs or insulin."
Likewise, eating too much carbohydrate may too reduce blood sugar, so consistency is key to intake of carbohydrates.
Stainbrook said we wanted to eat faster and more practical. If you have a cup of cookie at the counter, you eat them instead of taking the time to cut vegetables or remove carrots. Her tips include keeping fresh, healthy snacks abundant and ready to eat. She tells patients that no food is prohibited, but that's all about moderation.
"Obviously, cakes and ice creams are not good, but it's up to the size of the piece," she said.
Another tip: she warns you not to drink your carbohydrates in soda and sweetened drinks, which can quickly smoke blood sugar and do not add any diet. Artificial sweeteners are better than regular diabetes sugars, but with sweet drinks you can even get even more excited.
Stainbrook said the diabetes education program offers individual and group education and includes the class of diabetes prevention.
"The program is intended for people who have a close family member and who increase the risk," she adds. "It's a weight loss program but also for people who have family history of illness or other diabetes indicators."
WHS Prevention Class meets weekly for 16 weeks, then switches to monthly meetings and intends to prevent diabetes.
"If you can prevent the disease from treating it, it saves money and health," Stainbrook said.
Her best advice to patients does not feel helpless or hopeless. There are many resources to help you manage diabetes and there are many people who are willing and able to help with medical advice as well as dealing with the emotional aspect of the disease.
Stainbrook said, "My lady last week said she has had diabetes for 30 years, and she said," You are the first person who gave me hope that I can actually do it myself and I can do things better. "