NCMA Endocrinology and Diabetes Center, under the leadership of endocrinologist Yuichiro D. Nakai, MD, has achieved AADE accreditation through the American Association of Diabetes Educators program
Patients who have diabetes know how challenging it can be to manage the disease. In addition to constantly monitoring the condition and taking medication, reducing the risk for complications is part of the daily routine. Healthy eating, physical activity and managing symptoms while focusing on prevention may seem overwhelming for patients newly diagnosed with diabetes, this is where diabetes education steps in and helps to keep a patient on track.
As a member of the healthcare team, a diabetes educator focuses on making living with diabetes easier. They work with each patient individually to develop a personalized plan to stay healthy, while providing the tools and ongoing support to put that plan into action and make it a routine part of life.
“Most patients will never be ‘cured’ of diabetes,” explains Dr. Nakai, NCMA Endocrinology and Diabetes Center medical director. “Over their lifetime, most will have and live with multiple diabetes complications (medical, psychological, social, financial, etc.). As a chronic disease requiring both lifestyle and medication therapy, at some point, most will “burn out” on dealing with diabetes daily for at least some period of time.
“One crucial concept in diabetes care is goal-setting and management which comes with the understanding that most patients will experience a greater, cumulative lifetime benefit from setting aggressive goals for their diabetes management early in their diagnosis, rather than waiting to make lifestyle changes until symptoms become a real problem. This means that patients need to be educated in goal setting and promoting safe, yet aggressive early therapies for the disease. This in turn will lead to a lifetime of not only managed diabetes, but a longer, healthier life overall.”
The educational guidelines
Diabetes education is now a recognized part of diabetes care and is covered by Medicare and most health insurance plans when it is offered through an accredited diabetes education program such as the newly AACE/ACE accredited NCMA Diabetes Center, which has met vigorous criteria set by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
The AACE/ACE guidelines contain specific processes to assist in choosing therapy of which Dr. Naiki’s recommendations include:
- Remember that lifestyle modifications first addressed back in 1916 still work and that aggressive lifestyle changes can outperform adding an individual diabetes drug without lifestyle change.
- Discuss what are likely to be changing individualized diabetes goals over time and provide specific suggested changes to get to those goals. If unable to do so personally due to time or other constraints, refer patients for diabetes and nutritional education.
- Recognize that most drugs will have benefits and side effects within days so in most circumstances adjustments can be made rapidly. The exceptions that take a little longer for full dose effect include TZDs, weekly incretins and new, longer-acting basal insulins.
- Scheduled, short-interval, one- to three-month follow-up appointments to specifically address success and side effects of medications may help keep the focus on diabetes and help minimize therapeutic inertia.
- Try to identify when patients are not ready or able to intensify glucose control early in visits, and then redirect time/effort to other long-term diabetes-related concerns such as foot exams, pushing patients to schedule eye exams, and addressing lipid or blood pressure goals.
- Refer to an endocrinologist or diabetes specialist when a patient is not meeting individualized goals.
The NCMA Diabetes Center is under the leadership of Chief Endocrinologist and Diabetes Center Medical Director, Yuichiro D. Nakai, MD, and offers a multidisciplinary team approach to treatment with Heather Kehres, PA-C, Chandra Matthews, RDN, CDE, and Jennifer Logan, RD, CDE.
Recognizing that education is the key to prevention as well as proper management of diabetes, NCMA Endocrinology and Diabetes Center offers workshops to cover all aspects of diabetes care including diabetic weight management, nutrition, safe exercise for diabetics, glucose meter use, insulin use, carbohydrate exchanges/ carbohydrate counting. One-on-one patient diabetes education and nutritional visits are also offered.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment call 707-578-7530.