The latest statistics say that if one parent has Type 2 diabetes, their child is 60 percent likely to get it as well. That was one piece of information that JeNeil Greek, registered nurse and diabetes educator for Trinity Health, offered when talking about diabetes.
There have been some changes in controlling diabetes, but one significant change has been in the use of insulin pumps. Greek said she's been seeing a lot of people who are using insulin pumps. In the past, there was just one version of an insulin pump, she noted, and now there are more of a variety of them and more people are using them to achieve better insulin control.
People have been choosing to use insulin pumps because the pump offers the ability of better blood sugar control, Greek explained.
JeNeil Greek, registered nurse and diabetes educator, right, provides instruction on an insulin pump to one of her office assistants in Greek’s office Thursday morning. Greek said more people with diabetes are opting to use insulin pumps to achieve better insulin control.
"Shots of insulin only last for a few hours, but with the pump a person can take extra insulin for snacks or turn it off if their blood sugar is too high," she said. "The pump can turn off and you'll be okay."
One way in which people can control their diabetes is with a visit to a dietician so they can learn about what foods will do to their blood sugar, Greek said.
"Education is very important because (the person) will always have diabetes," she said.
A person with diabetes can also visit with a nurse educator who will teach them about exercise and ways to diminish stress. Good stress control is important, Greek noted, because stress plays a big role in blood sugar levels. Sickness will also cause stress in blood sugar levels, she added. People who have diabetes are taught the seven healthy behaviors of self care as well. The healthy behaviors include healthy eating, being active, monitoring blood sugar levels, taking medication, problem solving, healthy coping and reducing risky behavior like drinking alcohol or smoking.
The most challenging part in controlling diabetes, Greek said, is for people finding and keeping the motivation on maintaining blood sugar control.
"People need to find a reason to stay motivated," she added. "We see a lot of depression in diabetics so their blood sugar gets worse and they get more depressed. It's a vicious circle."
It's important for people to maintain control of their diabetes because of the risk of complications in their future, Greek remarked. The complications are the same for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, she also said. Complications from diabetes can affect the kidneys, heart and eyesight, and can lead to amputations, heart attack or stroke.
"It's important to have continuing education because your diabetes changes from year to year," Greek noted. "Your feelings about it change, too, and you have to learn how to deal with it because it can be overwhelming. It's important to stay educated from one step to the next."
There are still some common misconceptions floating around about diabetes as well, mainly having to do with food. Greek said one misconception is that people with diabetes can't have certain foods, but it's really all about finding the right portion size instead. Another misconception, she added, is that people with diabetes can't have any sugar at all.
"A diet of moderation is very important," she said.
Greek said she and her colleagues are seeing more people with diabetes due to the influx of people in the Minot area. They are also seeing more young people with Type 2 diabetes because of their lifestyle of not exercising and not eating healthy food.
"It's important to get yourself educated and continue on with education (about diabetes)," Greek offered as a piece of advice to someone trying to control their diabetes. "Becoming educated about any disease is important. One of the best things people can do is educate themselves."