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Diabetes Educators and Technology — A Winning Team

Diabetes Educators and Technology — A Winning Team

Sandra, 67, pays close attention to her diabetes, watching what she eats and how she exercises. This is how she’s controlled her diabetes for almost 50 years. Sandra pays attention to changes to her treatment, especially when her diabetes educator, Connie Frazier, RD, LDN, CDE, explains how to use a new, sophisticated insulin pump.

Sandra is open to new ideas to maintain her health, and Connie makes these critical concepts easy to understand. Sandra is living proof that a great care team, with the patient at the center, can ensure an active, healthy life. 

Providing diabetes education for better health

As diabetes treatments — and technology — keep improving, the need for ongoing education grows even greater. Connie Frazier, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, offers the compassion and encouragement that patients need to stick with their program. She collaborates with:

  • Registered nurses
  • Family members
  • Primary care physicians
  • Endocrinologists
  • Medical specialists

“People with diabetes must manage their condition day to day, but they need to be flexible. Education is vital to stay healthy. We have group sessions and individual counseling, as well as support groups at several locations,” said Connie. “In addition, we explain the technical aspects of pump therapy and continual glucose monitoring that may be part of the treatment plan.”

Insulin pump delivers medication

This high-technology pump delivers the insulin that Sandra needs, based on how many carbohydrates she is eating and her blood sugar. But Sandra needs to know how to adjust it to deliver less insulin when she is walking the track at the YMCA. The right flow of insulin can help reduce radical variations in a patient’s blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Patients still need to count their carbs, test their blood sugar several times a day and maintain the pump. When patients input this information, the pump will adjust the insulin dosage based on:

  • The person’s current blood sugar level
  • Carbohydrates about to be eaten
  • Exercise that is pending or underway

The pump shares data with the team at the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Center for Diabetes.  Connie — along with Sandra’s endocrinologist and other members of her care team — can review the data and make sure Sandra’s health is on track.

Some patients transmit the data wirelessly to the diabetes education team.  “We can monitor the data, upload it and make changes to therapy between office visits,” said Connie.

Diabetes care at AHN

Diabetes treatment plans are tailored to fit the individual needs and lifestyles of each patient. Services include:

  • Physician consultation
  • Medication management
  • State-of-the-art insulin therapy
  • Medical nutrition therapy
  • Self-management and blood glucose self-monitoring
  • Continual glucose monitoring system
  • Insulin pump therapy
  • Individual and group education
  • Support groups

People often unaware of diabetes 

Risk factors such as high blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides and abdominal obesity can make you more likely to develop insulin resistance.  

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes all revolve around insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body absorb and use the glucose created from digesting food.  

It is estimated that:

  • Nine percent of Americans, more than 29 million, have diabetes, though 8.1 million of them are undiagnosed.
  • One out of every three adults has prediabetes — though most don’t know it.

Learn more about diabetes


Forbes Hospital