Stephanie Lueras: Diabetes care demystified | Lifestyle

There is so much misinformation about diabetes about there that sometimes it can be hard to know what to listen to with all the noise, and if I see one more social media post about the cause of type 2 diabetes being indulging in sweet desserts, it will be too soon (by the way, sugar consumption is not the number one cause of type 2 diabetes). It’s tongue-in-cheek comments like those that stigmatize diabetes and make it difficult for individuals to seek out proper lifestyle management over fads and restrictive dieting to live with their diagnoses.

We used to cringe at the term diabetes—for many, it meant a death sentence or a whole host of health conditions that were difficult to manage. Under the diabetes umbrella we have type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes, sometimes nicknamed type 1.5). There are many other metabolic disorders like pancreatic disorders, insulin resistance, and PCOS, etc., that are treated in similar (but different) ways than diabetes.

The reality with diabetes or metabolic disorders is that people are able to live full lives without the condition running the show—not the other way around. It is easy to get overwhelmed when a diagnosis and treatment/care plan is given and to feel very restricted in possibilities.

Sometimes, it is the time a provider is able to spend with you and they aren’t able to explain everything fully in one visit. Other times it might be that your primary care physician does not specialize in the latest in diabetes care to advise you on assistive technologies and how to obtain or use them.

We don’t fault physicians when it comes to diabetes care. As I’ve talked about in the past, our physicians make up one part of our care team for our greatest good. In areas like ours where specialists are at a premium, sometimes telehealth is not people’s first choice, but when it comes to diabetes management, there are some great options to help you thrive—Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (CDCES, formerly known as Certified Diabetes Educators).

A CDCES is someone who is going to focus on your lifestyle and how you want to live—not your diabetes first. They are going to walk alongside you in establishing skills for blood glucose management to help you keep your HbA1C in your target range, work with you on meal planning that fits your tastes without overhauling your diet to a place of restriction (it’s a myth you “have to” eat a particular extreme low-carb or keto diet with metabolic disorders), establish movement practices that honor your needs, work with you on obtaining and training you to use assistive technologies if you desire them (continuous glucose monitoring and/or insulin pumps), insulin management if needed, and help you to navigate life without having diabetes/metabolic conditions navigate you.

These providers are available in-person and virtually throughout the US (and other countries under other clinical titles). Sessions with a CDCES typically last 30-60 minutes, rather than the few minutes you spend with your physician, so you feel like you have had all your questions answered and topics covered. Some people choose just a session or two, others visit a CDCES on an ongoing basis. They also work in tandem with your physicians or specialists on medication management, insulin management, and concerns as needed.

Some insurance companies provide coverage for CDCES counsel, others do not. Check with your CDCES provider as some accept FSA and HSA, as well as cash pay.

Diabetes and other metabolic conditions don’t have to run your life—there’s a lot of freedom that can be had with the right education and support. Never be afraid to reach out for that helping hand (and shameless plug, I am in my clinical supervision for my CDCES designation and am providing diabetes management care at Heart and Sole Fitness & Wellness as of January 1, 2023).

For more information in the meantime, you can always visit https://heartandsolefit.com/

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