Diabetes can be debilitating however in most cases it can be very well managed through good monitoring, the correct medication, regular exercise and a healthy diet. In this article we’ll explore what a diabetes educator is, the different types of diabetes and treatment options.
What is a diabetes educator?
A diabetes educator works with the GP and an Endocrinologist to establish the best way to manage each patient’s diabetes. GPs are general practitioners, meaning they are trained in a wide range of areas. They can diagnose and manage the condition however they usually haven’t specialised in diabetes and in many cases there is a need for more specialised advice. Endocrinologists are extremely specialised and are generally reserved for really complex cases where the usual diabetes treatments haven’t been effective.
A diabetes educator has a deep understanding of the triggers that lead to diabetes, as well as the best ways to manage it. They should be a first stop on the path to good management.
What are the different types of diabetes a diabetes educator can help with?
A diabetes educator can assist with managing all types of diabetes as well as prevention if you are at risk of diabetes.
This is a stage where you are showing signs that you are at risk of diabetes. In most cases it’s completely reversible unless there is a strong family history of the disease or you are using a medication such as certain steroids that are known to predispose you.
Type 1 Diabetes
This is an auto-immune condition that can happen to anyone from birth to about 50 years old.
Type 2 Diabetes
Sometimes seen in teenagers however it generally appears anywhere from 30 years old and is affected by lifestyle factors.
Pregnant women have a 60% chance of suffering gestational diabetes. Though it goes away at the end of the pregnancy there an increased likelihood that the woman will develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Diabetes: Risks, symptoms, detection, treatment and monitoring
The risks associated with unmanaged diabetes are that you can go blind, suffer kidney failure, heart attack or stroke. In some cases you may even need limbs removed.
There are many subtle symptoms of diabetes however the most obvious are if you’re always feeling lousy or generally unwell, constantly thirsty or urinating much more frequently than what is normal for you.
The first check is a blood glucose reading with a unit we have on-site at Kardinia Health. If that test shows that it possibly is diabetes then the GP will order a more in-depth test called a glucose tolerance test. This is where you drink a syrup and then your blood glucose is tested an hour afterwards, and again two hours afterward. In some cases a blood test called Haemoglobin A1C test (or HbA1c for short) is also done.
Treatment and Monitoring
Sensor Insertion: Allows 24/7 monitoring for 6 days to get a picture of what’s happening inside your body. This helps us determine if the medication you’re on is working well or in need of adjustment.
Pump Therapy: In some cases we may suggest the use of a 24 hour insulin control pump with glucose monitoring. It manages insulin by injecting it directly into the bloodstream as required. It’s mainly used for the management of Type 1 however sometimes it can be used as a therapy for Type 2 as well.
Type 1 Diabetes: Insulin is used to treat cases of Type 1 Diabetes.
Pre-diabetes, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes: When dealing with these types of diabetes it’s common for small changes to your eating habits and regular exercise to allow you to manage and gain control of your health again.
Find out more: Olga Lutzko, Diabetes Educator Geelong
Olga is Kardinia Health’s on-site diabetes educator from Succeed in Diabetes. She’s found that about 70% of people that use a Diabetes Educator manage to manage their condition. In some cases further help might be required through the use of an exercise physiologist or dietician. The best way to get started is to book in with her by calling reception.
Olga has eleven years’ experience in helping clients with insulin dependent diabetes, both Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and Type 2 Diabetes, LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults) and GDM (Gestational Diabetes). Olga counsels the appropriate direction for success for each individual. She does this through listening with no judgement.
Whatever you are concerned about, be this hypos (Hypoglyceamia) or running high (Hyperglyceamia) and DKA or generally concerned about your HbA1c we can help. We will ensure educational sessions, be they hints and tips on lifestyle modification and healthy eating or the benefits of using Technology in Diabetes – all with the focus of helping you succeed.
Olga can help identify the best Diabetes technology for you. This may be a 6 day CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) report, realtime CGM which you can see on your iPhone, technology that can decreases the use of MDI (multiple daily injections) or even insulin pump therapy. The information and the technology are all available to help you succeed in better daily management of insulin dependent Diabetes – whatever type you have.
Olga can deliver service fluently in English, Ukrainian and Polish, with the understanding of Russian and some Croatian, Serbian, Slovenian and Macedonian.