Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: Why is Diabetes Education Important?


Our focus this week is on diabetes education and why knowledge is so important if you're diagnosed with the disease. Education is key if you are facing a diabetes diagnosis.

“It’s nice to get freshened up on the disease itself, to learn what you can do with lifestyle changes to manage it,” noted Rita Smith, a registered dietician at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Smith works with patients to specifically educate them on healthy eating habits. “Eating and diet is so important for blood sugar regulation,” she noted. 

Smith says there are three main takeaways to watch when it comes to diet. First, people need to eat three meals each day at regular times and avoid random eating habits. Next, they need to eat a consistent amount of carbohydrate at each of those meals.  And finally, staying hydrated is important, but you need to make sure the drinks don’t contain carbohydrates.

Since the patient themselves manage their diabetes day to day on their own, understanding glucose monitoring is also important.

“A great way to use it is to check before a meal, and after a meal, and that way they can see how that meal affects their blood sugar,” said Barbara Martin, a certified diabetes educator at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.

With just a small finger prick, patients can gather information and then make nutrition changes based on their results.

“Over time you gather information about what’s going on throughout the day,” noted Martin. “As they see how different meals affect their glucose levels, they can then modify those meals," Martin stated.

For more information on this topic, call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, email healthquestions@nbc29.com

Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday

Do you have health questions? Get the answers every Monday morning from the experts in our feature: Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday.

Jenn Downs will meet with the experts of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital and ask them your questions. You’ll see and hear the answers during NBC29 News at Sunrise every Monday morning.

To submit your questions, email them to healthquestions@nbc29.com. Then, tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday.

Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital