Although she had a family history of type 2 diabetes, Hildegarde “Hildy” Fleischer was shocked when she was diagnosed in April of this year.
“I thought that since I had a history of reactive hypoglycemia, I wasn’t at risk for diabetes,” she said.
But Fleischer’s glucose levels had been running high since she retired four years ago; she had stopped exercising routinely and developed poor eating habits.
After she was diagnosed, Fleischer learned everything she could about diabetes. She made better choices related to portion-controlled carbohydrate and started walking five days a week for 40 minutes to an hour, or performed water aerobics when the weather was too warm.
“I was very eager to get my glucose levels under control because I needed to have cataract surgery on both eyes,” she said. What Fleischer was not aware of was that high blood sugars can worsen cataracts. Her vision was so blurry that she did not feel comfortable driving, nor could she read a book.
After hearing about the Center for Diabetes and Nutrition at Martin Health from a friend, Fleischer asked her primary care physician for a referral.
During her initial appointment, Fleischer met with Carolynn Strom, diabetes education quality coordinator, who taught Fleischer how to test her glucose levels at home and gave her target goals for blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Fleischer attended the diabetes group session classes led by Strom and her colleagues, Megan McGeean, program educator, and Lindsey Modica, RD, LD/N.
With support from the center’s staff, Fleischer learned to problem solve her glucose levels and maintain a low carbohydrate diet.
Help with diet
She also met with Martin Health registered dietitian Tegan Bissell to learn more about healthy snack choices and preparing diabetic-friendly treats.
“Hildy has done a remarkable job controlling her type 2 diabetes with oral diabetes medication, diet, and exercise,” Strom said. “Her hard work with the right support paid off and she was able to have the cataract surgery with no issues.”
Hildy’s blood sugars are now at target goal and she is driving and reading again with clear vision. “This program was so good for me,” Fleischer said. “I’m more fit and energetic and I’m committed to a new way of living.”
The Center for Diabetes and Nutrition also offers one-on-one counseling for individuals with diabetes or pre-diabetes to help them manage the disease and make healthy lifestyle and dietary choices. Learn more at martinhealth.org/diabetes-education.
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Martin Health offers diabetes self-management program
Newly-diagnosed patients can participate in two four-hour educational sessions that are covered by Medicare Part B. Participants learn the following:
• What is diabetes?
• Prevention of acute complications associated with diabetes
• The link between diabetes, heart disease, and stroke
• Prevention and treatment of microvascular complications (including eye disease, kidney disease, and neuropathies) associated with diabetes
• Diabetes medication management
• Diabetes and behavior change, how to change habits
• Eating healthy at home or when dining out
• Carbohydrate counting and portion sizing
• Exercising safely and productively with diabetes.
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