Introducing Insulin Therapy and Dietary Care to Patients with Diabetes

Published on: 

Dr. Cheryl Marco offers unique insights into diabetes management through proper education and encouragement of insulin therapy and dietary changes.

As diabetes care continues to evolve, especially in regard to insulin therapies, so too must the conversations being had between patients and doctors.

Fortunately, a recent webinar, “Institutional Perspectives in Diabetes: New Advances in Insulin Therapy for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes” hosted a myriad of thoughtful discussions regarding the importance of insulin therapies for diabetes care.

As a certified diabetes care and education specialist and a dietitian, Cheryl Marco, RDN, LDN, CDCES at the Division of Endocrinology at Thomas Jefferson University, offered unique and valued insights into how patients with diabetes could implement insulin therapy and healthy dietary practices into their medical regimen.

Her presentation, “Patient Communication and Education”, addressed psychological insulin resistance, hypoglycemia management, dietary changes that patients could make to establish a healthier life with diabetes, and continuous glucose sensors.

“Overall, (my job is) just helping a patient look for ways to make their life easier, and to understand what's going on in their body so that they in fact can take control of that,” Marco said. “So it's giving the driver's seat to the patient, rather than simply telling the patient what to do.”

Marco noted that the diagnosis of diabetes can often overwhelm patients. The implications of diabetes can include meaningful changes to their diet and physical activity level as well as the introduction on an injectable medication such as insulin.

Though insulin has been an important aspect of diabetes care for years, the act of injecting insulin can intimidate patients.

In her presentation and in throughout her professional life, Marco has informed patients of the relative ease of administering insulin, balancing insulin treatment with a proper diet, and --perhaps just noteworthy, learning to forgive themselves.

She noted that patients with diabetes often experience psychological struggles due to their condition and consider their diagnosis to be the result of personal failure.

However, Marco believed providers could help patients transcend these thoughts with proper diabetes education and management and remind them that they can lead healthy and fruitful lives beyond their diabetes diagnoses.

“When we engage in that self-deprecating talk, that ‘if only’ or ‘I failed’, we're not able to problem solve and move forward, so I think that's probably one of the biggest burdens of diabetes management,” Marco said. “And as healthcare professionals, we can do something about that. We can help the patient understand that diabetes is a disease of progressive pancreatic failure. So, it's helping people let go of the self-blame so that they can move on and problem solve, and live with where they're at.”

To hear the full interview with Giuliana Grossi and Dr. Marco, listen to the podcast episode above.