Prescribe Nutritional Education/Counseling for Persons with Diabetes
What I have learned this month is that individuals diagnosed with various chronic health conditions can benefit from nutritional consultation. For example, individuals diagnosed with diabetes should be encouraged to seek out information about how nutrition plays a role in the treatment and prevention of secondary conditions.
This is not a push for additional business for registered dieticians, but to encourage health care professionals to provide correct and adequate information, and consumers to seek out additional information related to diet when there is a change in the individual’s health status. For example, in addition to being advised to control sugar levels, persons diagnosed with diabetes should receive specific dietary instructions and information on the possible health complications that are associated with this serious disability.
This past month I have been working with several individuals who are newly diagnosed with diabetes. They are unable to identify carbohydrates in their dietary intake record, and are not sure of the time of day to consume carbohydrates. Though many realize the need to consume a "special diet," a few suggested that "controlling their sugars" was to avoid pasta and rice.
Such misinformation could be cleared up with a little education and follow-up. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends that persons newly diagnosed with Type I diabetes seek out 3-4 medical nutritional therapy visits over the first three months of treatment, and then a minimum of 1-2 additional visits annually. For those diagnosed with Type II diabetes, the ADA recommends 4 medical nutritional therapy visits initially, with follow-ups every 6-12 months (http://www.knowledgelinc.com/ada/mntguides/).
In general, persons with diabetes need to understand how food, medication, physical activity, and stress all work together to affect blood glucose. Obtaining this education takes time and energy, but the pay off of having well-controlled blood glucose levels can assist in preventing future secondary conditions. Search for additional information on the American Diabetes Association (http://www.diabetes.org) and American Dietetic Association (http://www.eatright.org) websites.
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