Diabetes is often discussed in terms of only two clinical types: autoimmune type 1 and “metabolic” type 2. But you can gather a room full of people with type 2 diabetes, and the ways their blood sugar, or blood sugar, gets elevated can differ dramatically.
For people without diabetes, as blood sugar rises, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to take up blood sugar for energy or storage. As cells absorb sugar from the blood, levels in the blood begin to drop. When this happens, the pancreas produces glucagon, a hormone that signals the liver to start releasing stored sugar. Homeostasis at its finest.
In contrast, in people with diabetes, the liver produces more blood glucose than it needs, there are fewer cells that produce insulin in the pancreas, and the response of muscles and other cells to insulin is blunted. . Additionally, other factors such as stress and illness can cause blood sugar levels to rise.
The strength of the Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists at the Holy Cross Medical Center (HCMC) Diabetes Clinic is in determining each patient’s blood sugar level. This is done through a compassionate assessment of the person’s health and family history, lab values, dietary habits, activity level, and behavioral health. The latter often leads an important discussion on stress – even common stressors such as family and childcare, finances, and/or work pressures can trigger primary alarm reactions in the body that increase blood sugar. Once a person living with diabetes has made the decision to improve their blood sugar management, the HCMC Diabetes Management Team offers countless avenues of support and intervention to achieve this.
Nutritional advice and strategies for becoming more physically active are some of the more conventional and universally effective approaches. A fun fact that you might only learn by spending time with one of our educators is that a person with diabetes can get into a non-diabetic state just by doing exercise. ‘exercise. Exercise allows blood sugar to be absorbed more efficiently by muscles and cells and is therefore used instead of circulating in the blood. All clinic patients, whether newly diagnosed or living with diabetes for years, have the support of Kelsey Chmil, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES), for these plans. proven action. Basic nutrition education is widely taught, and it can be extremely rewarding to finally understand how different delicious foods behave in our bodies when eaten. Sometimes the most important part of a person’s nutritional journey is to “unlearn” the restrictive and often damaging mindset offered by unaccredited diet gurus on the internet. Kelsey’s years of experience make her the expert to have in your corner once you’re ready to fall in love with food again and improve your diabetes management.
In many cases, even the perfect diet and active lifestyle can cause blood sugar control to fall below the desired mark; as a chronic condition, it gets worse over time. The good news is that modern diabetes interventions, including the latest medications and blood glucose monitoring technology, can help patients achieve their blood sugar goals. This is where Angela Torres, Doctor of Pharmacy, CDCES, and Nicole “Nikki” Smirl, Registered Nurse and Trainee at CDCES, share their skills. Angela not only keeps the clinic up to date with the latest medications available for diabetes management, but also keeps up to date on how they may be paid for by patients with various insurance coverages. For example, a new drug, Mounjaro with its many modes of action, has been shown to improve blood sugar levels and boost weight loss, but its novelty still makes it unaffordable for the majority of patients. But don’t worry: there are countless other effective drugs that Angela and Nikki can navigate your insurance coverage to avoid breaking the bank.
The glucose monitoring technologies mentioned above have advanced to the point where multiple finger pricks a day can be avoided by instead using a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) – a discreet device that is applied to the body of an individual. a patient for long periods to produce real -time feedback on their glucose every few minutes. Insurance coverage for personal versions of these devices can be difficult but not impossible, which is why Nikki dedicates time each week to triaging support requests for eligible patients. Additionally, the HCMC Diabetes Management Team offers a 7-10 day monitoring period using our professional CGM system. This produces a detailed report of the user’s blood sugar levels during that time which can then be interpreted to guide new therapies and interventions.
Finally, the care of all patients at the clinic is influenced by both its expert medical director, Dr. Neal Friedman and its administrative assistant, LoriAnn Cortez. LoriAnn is recognizable by her bubbly personality on the phone as she checks each patient’s insurance benefits and encourages them to make an appointment with a diabetes educator and Dr. Friedman guides each educator’s practice with news of the latest research medical.
For more information on managing diabetes, go to HolyCrossMedicalCenter.org or by calling LoriAnn at (575) 751–5769. Be well.