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Healthwise: Diabetes Education

September 20, 2011

Robert Burnett was diagnosed with the disease five years ago. Shortly after he was diagnosed he started diabetes education courses with Martha Jefferson Hospital.

"It was a life saver. First to be convinced that there was life after diabetes and there were things that I could and should do to improve my chances with getting on with it," said Burnett.

A nurse met with Burnett one-on-one in a series of appointments. She taught him how to manage his diabetes beginning with checking his blood sugar levels on this device.

"The first time I stuck my finger I felt just a little pin prick, but by the end of that month I hardly noticed it. It's just a small part of the big picture," said Burnett, who also learned how to read nutrition labels for healthy food.

"I actually read labels and did the grocery store tour with ten of my new best friends and realized what's on that label isn't all you necessarily need to know. You have to dig a little bit. I changed my eating habits reduced my carbohydrates intake," said Burnett.

Another key to staying healthy with diabetes is exercising. After taking part in the education program Burnett started walking three times a week.

Whether it is checking for cracks and red spots on your feet or properly testing your levels, doctors say it is important to know what to look for and how to stay healthy.

"It gave me the confidence that I could overcome this," said Burnett. "It would take some work on my part and listening to others, but that I could come through it and that's the big take away I have".

Just a couple of years after being diagnosed with diabetes, Burnett's blood sugar levels are now testing in the normal range and he is able to manage his diabetes without medication.

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