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MedWatch: Diabetes Management

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Diabetes is a growing issue across America, in Northern Michigan and particularly in Kalkaska County.

It’s one of several diseases that has a huge impact on public health care.

That’s one of the reasons for a new program that’s helping the newly diagnosed get a handle on their health.

Michelle Dunaway explains in this week’s MedWatch report.

Linda Lamothe is meeting with her diabetes educator.

She was diagnosed with type 2 more than 15 years ago, but admits she wasn’t always the best patient.

“I got so lazy about it. I like to be as active as I can and go places, and when you’re going to visit friends or you’re going shopping you have to time your meals, because you have to have your shots with you and it became overwhelming, almost depressing, so I just didn’t do it,” explains Linda.

Her numbers reflected that.

“I have had a hard time keeping it regulated. I will have a really good day and, all of a sudden, the next day I will be over 200, but it’s gotten much better. This program has just changed everything for me,” says Linda.

The program is Diabetes Management at Kalkaska Memorial Health Center.

Katie Daman started it in January.

Patients begin by meeting with her one-on-one.

“We go over things like their specific diet, how they manage their diabetes at home currently. We talk about carb counting, specific medications that they may be on,” explains Katie Daman, R.N., B.S.N, chronic disease manager. “The second part of the course is group education. We talk about what diabetes is, the different types of diabetes. We talk about a lot of risk factors that you’re more prone to because of the diabetes and how to prevent those future complications, and we also talk about nutrition.”

Katie says the need is great, particularly in their area.

“Diabetes is very serious. It’s very scary because patients don’t know they’re sick. They don’t know they have any of these symptoms, they don’t feel any different, but those prolonged high blood sugars wreak havoc on every system in your body,” says Katie.

Linda credits Katie’s way of teaching for her continued success.

“She’s so upbeat about it, and she makes it more fun. She’s not all serious, like, she doesn’t lecture you,” says Linda.

Katie adds, “We’re not trying to cut out anything or restrict them. We really want to fit diabetes into their lives so that they can manage it better at home.”

Turning a not-so-good student into a woman in charge of her own health.

“You can with the education, but you also have to want to. You can educated me as much as you want to, but if I don’t want to do it it’s not going to help me, but I do want to do it,” says Linda.