Diabetes Education at Think

We sat down with Think Whole Person Healthcare Diabetes Educator, Mary Jo Burkhardt, RN, BSN, CDE, to talk about her approach to educating her patients who live with diabetes. “I’m all about empowering my patients and instilling pride in them. Here they are, really taking control of their life and body, really taking good care of themselves.” Mary Jo uses an empathetic approach – she knows that everyone likes to eat foods that include carbohydrates – it’s natural to prefer those high-calorie foods (pizza, pasta, burgers, etc.). According to Mary Jo, her job is to individualize nutrition plans that fit into the life of her patients. That requires their honesty and her understanding. “I don’t judge my patients. We work together to create a plan that makes sure they can still eat the foods they love while staying healthy and regulating their blood sugars. When my patients follow our plan and we work together, they’re usually the healthiest eaters on the block.”

Mary Jo’s patient base consists mostly of those living with Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 is a completely different disease than Type 1. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease in which the body can’t produce insulin, and its symptoms typically begin to appear in children. However, Type 2 Diabetes typically occurs in those 45+ who are overweight and perform little physical activity. The body still makes insulin and the symptoms are less noticeable. Over time, though, the body does make, and exercise is highly recommended to help the body continue to make insulin.

Mary Jo is excited to be part of the Think Whole Person Healthcare family, as many of the services needed by those living with diabetes are all here in one place. Think Whole Person Healthcare has podiatrists, because those living with diabetes worry about their feet due to potential complications with the disease. Think Whole Person Healthcare also has behavioral specialists, Care Coordinators, optometrists, Clinical Pharmacists, dentists and hygienists, and primary care doctors – all who are in-the-know of the patient’s health plan and particular needs, and work together to help the patient manage their health.

Watch the videos below to hear right from Mary Jo, the passionate expert about all things diabetes education and management. Need more information? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Mary Jo directly!

 

 

Here’s an additional note from Mary Jo Burkhardt about living life to the fullest during the holiday season while living with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes:

Those living with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes can work their favorite holiday foods into their meal plan. I encourage people to be mindful about what they are eating and to be careful to eat their favorite holiday foods only on the holiday itself – in moderation. I also stress the importance of staying on their food plan as many days a year – it’s within their power to stay as healthy as they can! I talk to my patients about how they can handle what can be many holiday parties and still stay pretty close to being on-target for their carbohydrate intake.

We discuss the importance of making sure they are exercising during this food-filled holiday time to help moderate their blood sugars with the benefits that exercise brings. If their diabetes is not in good control, they need to discuss this with their doctor or provider for a particular plan for handling the holidays.

Follow my tips to ensure that you enjoy every moment of the holidays spent with your friends and family. You can do what you love, no matter what, with our help…because Life is for Living.

 


 

The Best Diabetes Lifestyle Management – The Team Approach

Diabetes is a complex chronic disease that you care for every day. Managing diabetes includes exercise, healthy eating, taking prescribed medications and monitoring blood sugars. At Think Whole Person Healthcare, we know this isn’t always easy. The Think Healthcare Team is available to you when you need more information or help in any area of your diabetes management. You are living with diabetes every day; here’s how the Think Healthcare Team can help when you need it.

 

Nutrition

Think’s resident Certified Diabetes Educator is Mary Jo Burkhardt. Her role is to learn your habits and the foods you like, then to guide you on a healthier path keeping your lifestyle, tastes and your diabetes in mind. She also knows that social situations, like going to a dinner party or out to eat, can be intimidating to navigate. Her plans provide suggestions and tools that will help you sail into that situation with confidence.

 

Behavioral Health

Sometimes with chronic conditions, you can feel isolated – when you can’t eat what everyone else is, when you have to leave the room to prick your finger, constantly having to regulate your blood sugar levels. You can feel like no one understands you or knows what you’re going through. Our on-site mental health therapists Krystle Eckhart, Meghan Herek and Jennifer M. Kelly and psychiatrist Rodney Nitcher can help you gain confidence, acceptance – anything you need to feel more like you.

You will also find support in Think’s Diabetes Type 1 and Diabetes Type 2 Support Groups: monthly gatherings where others living with diabetes, along with other healthcare providers, come together as a community to support, teach and learn from one another. Check the Think Event Calendar to find the next meetings.

 

Podiatry

Brad Copple and Reanen Michael are trained to treat feet and problems of the lower legs. Diabetes makes you prone to poor blood flow and nerve damage in the lower legs. You may get infections more often. Sores, even small ones, can quickly turn into serious problems. Any foot sore or callus needs to checked by your primary care doctor or a podiatrist. Do not try to fix these yourself, because you could cause an infection. Be sure to inspect your feet daily for signs of trouble.

 

Dentistry

Diabetes puts those living with it at a greater risk for gum disease. The excess blood sugar in your mouth makes it a good home for bacteria, which can lead to infection if you don’t see your dentist regularly. Think’s dentist Christine Keith emphasizes prevention and wants to see her patients every six months for a checkup and a cleaning. If you’re a Think patient, Christine will already know you have diabetes with her access to your records, and make sure to bring it up during your checkup so you can communicate about your whole health, too.

 

Physical Therapy

Exercise can help lower blood sugar, help your body use insulin better and help control your weight – something you need when you’re living with diabetes type 1 or type 2. Think physical therapists are the best people to help you and your doctor plan your fitness program, since they are trained in the scientific basis of exercise.

 

Care Coordination

In addition to diabetes specialists, behavioral health specialists, diabetes focus groups, etc., Think also houses clinical pharmacists, nurses, and your primary care doctor.

Your Think primary care doctor and their team of nurses get to know you as a person– not a condition. When you’re a patient of Michelle, our Diabetes Educator, and our behavioral health team, your doctor has easy access to those specialists and your records. Having this comprehensive look at you – the person – helps your doctor know how to help you manage your health. Your doctor can then speak to your Think clinical pharmacist about the best treatments and medications for you.

Even more, you may qualify for our Care Coordination program, in which a nurse helps you plan, implement and monitor your healthcare.

 

Our goal is to give you control and ownership over your chronic condition and your health. If Think’s Team Approach can help you live fully with diabetes, fill out this short form to get more information. Life is for Living.