Justice Boushey received a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis at the age of nine. “I was pretty sick at the time,” said Boushey. “I thought I had the flu when I went in.”
“Diabetes is a chronic condition because it doesn’t go away,” said Jean Land, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. Land is also the coordinator of the Carle Diabetes Education Program. “Education is key with management. Type 1 diabetes requires insulin management. Type 2, depending on the individual, is often treated with lifestyle changes, and some people require diabetes medication, including oral and/or injectable medication such as insulin.”
For Boushey, management of her condition could be difficult. “It was a struggle to manage my diabetes day-to-day,” said Boushey. “I used the finger prick method and did that every few hours.” New technologies are making improvements to the lives of those with diabetes.
“Education is super beneficial when we catch a diagnosis early on,” said Julie Uebinger, Nutrition Supervisor. “We educate them on the complications it can cause. This can motivate patients to take action to lower their A1C and keep up those needed lifestyle changes.”
Uebinger teaches patients how to use newer technologies like glucometers, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices, and insulin pumps and pens.
For Type 1 patients, management is easier with a Dexcom, or CGM device, and pump. Boushey now uses a Dexcom and Omnipod5 pump system to measure her blood sugar and receive insulin.
“Before, I had to prick multiple times a day or receive multiple shots. Now I don’t have to worry,” said Boushey. “I still have to stay on top of it, but I don’t have to make constant calculations. It doesn’t take as long and it’s not as stressful.”
Type 2 patients use a CGM device to provide blood sugar awareness. The CGM data tells them how the foods they eat impact their blood sugar, motivating change.
“Patients are able to see how the blood glucose data changes based on what they eat or activity they do,” said Land. “With this data, they can make changes with a direct impact, and some are able to lose weight once they actually see how certain foods affect their blood sugar in real time and are more inclined to decrease or eliminate these foods.”
“The end goal is that hopefully finger sticking becomes a thing of the past,” said Uebinger. “Right now, patients need to meet certain criteria before receiving a CGM device. But the parameters for receiving this device are loosening.”
There are many new monitoring options for patients, and they can choose which technologies are best for their preferences. “Other family members can receive alerts with these new technologies,” said Land. “Other people can also connect to monitors and receive an alert, which is great for those who live alone.”
In regards to technology, “We see individuals that are 25 or 85 years old who are tech-savvy,” said Uebinger. “Or it’s a reverse situation. We can determine what would best fit. Sometimes we start with a CGM and then switch, or they love their first option. Age isn’t a factor, and a lot of older patients are pretty tech-savvy.”
Boushey is also glad that Carle connects patients to resources like the Dexcom and Omnipod5 pump system. "Some people don’t prefer the old fashion way with a finger prick. Since I’ve been on the Dexcom and Omnipod5 pump system, my A1C went from 11 percent to 6.4 percent. That’s a very big and positive jump.”
Carle hosts a diabetes support group connecting patients to educational resources and management tools. Those interested in participating this program should call (217) 365-2853 to register.
“If you’d told me how much this would improve my life, I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Boushey. “It’s completely turned my life around.”
Diabetes education services, including consultations with a Registered Dietitian and a Diabetes Nurse Educator, are available at several Carle locations. These include Carle Champaign on Curtis, Carle Urbana on Windsor, Carle Rantoul, Carle Danville at The Riverfront, Carle Eureka, Carle BroMenn Medical Center, Carle Mattoon on Lerna, Carle Effingham and Carle Olney.
A referral from a primary care provider is all that is needed to be scheduled for these services, which are covered by most insurances.
To find out if you or someone you love are at risk for Type 2 diabetes by taking this quick and simple Diabetes Risk Test.
For more information on diabetes management, visit Carle.org.
Categories: Redefining Healthcare